Google Translate ‘yaya’ from Filipino to English:
governess, nurse, maid (show less translations)
i cannot remember the first day i met you,
the same way one cannot remember how
they have met their own parents.
however, i do remember that you always woke
thirty minutes before i did, an hour before my
own mother - to cook me warm oatmeal.
(my mother says it’s good for the heart, but you
are the one who cooked it.)
i remember you that you know that i like tofu
and spam and my sinigang a bit more sour
(extra tamarind was they key to my heart).
i remember you bringing me to the bakery
across the street, for a merienda break.
the one filled with the pastries that i love,
that for some reason, i can no longer find.
i remember how you washed our clothes, no gloves
to protect you from the clorox,
until your own hands were
calloused as the bark
of the chico tree in the backyard
and as white as the rice
on our plates.
dear second mother, one day, i will envelop
your broken hands in my own, in hope that
i can show you what the words ‘mahal kita’
mean, the same way you did to me.
Mahal: (n) love / Kita: (n) me to you