By Apolinario Villalobos



A diminutive girl, she is –

With a sweet smile and angelic face

Marianne struck me

When one day in a mall lounge

She walked in with confidence

Strode to the restroom

With a dust pan and a broom

While giving those in the lounge

A warm smile –

That brightened the room.

When I called her as she came out

She did not acknowledge

Instead, walked out of the lounge

But after an hour was back

This time throwing me a glance

And I think, it was done by chance.

So I beckoned to her

And as she approached me

She held her plastic- covered ID

Instead of speaking, she gestured

Pointing at her left ear and lips

She slightly shook her head,

Only then I knew –

Marianne is mute and deaf!

Marianne is a janitress of the mall

And for months, honestly worked

Earning precious pesos for a living

To support herself, parents and sibling.