This could have been an email, (Leila Tualla)

But you insisted on the niceness that social 

norms implore. It is only polite when you have the upper hand,

while I – heart racing, words exploding out in a deluge of

nonsense that only nerves could offer at the table; 

I, swallow the impatience down and temper the beast of 

Anxiety. I cannot stop shaking, my hands hiding under

the table, eyes looking everywhere but at the reality at hand.

I still myself as best as I can.

I will myself to stop fidgeting and stop thinking about the next

sentence, the next polite thing, the next acceptable normal response.

I cannot help the truth escaping my lips, 

or the laughter of hysterics bubble past me.

But then the worst happens, 

I vomit.

The horror is reflected on your face. I could run and cry,

Instead, I stand, wipe my mouth and point,

“This could have been an email,” before walking out the door.


Leila Tualla is a Filipino-American poet and author based in Houston, Tx. Leila’s books include a YA contemporary romance called Letters to Lenora and a memoir/poetry collection called Storm of Hope: God, Preeclampsia, Depression and me. Her poetry is featured in several mental health anthologies and she is currently working on a poetry collection based on Asian American stereotypes and identifies. Her chapbook “PMDD & me,” is out now. 


image: “Strong” by Sean O’Leary is a writer from Melbourne who loves taking photos