During Your Lifetime

By | 1 February 2019

for Grandma Perez (1922-2018)

In your backyard, you planted
papaya, mango, breadfruit, coconut,
guava, and banana trees long before I

was born. After harvest, we walked
around the village, delivering a share
to every neighbor. When we returned,

you told me to rake the leaves and fallen
fruit into piles, where I learned that rot
is the other side of ripe, and death, too,

is a kind of blossoming. Decades later,
weeds and invasive vines strangle
your garden. Strangers dump their trash

into the unkept grass. You watch
television all day, as your body,
after hip and knee surgeries, mulches

in a wheelchair. I live thousands of miles
away from your tropical orchard of limbs
and veined roots. Dear Grandma, I

want to remember you standing
amongst the banana trees, the green
hands of their sagging clusters

raised to the sky in prayer, their hearts
opening to a season, during your lifetime,
in which we are always bountiful.

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