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Poem: Room to Grow

Written by: Dyllan Tierra Mykel Mamasig

I rarely sit underneath the old chico tree

standing front and center in the middle of the yard.

Towering above me, its drooping branches

pat my head as if I am still a child

rolling around in the dirt and

playing make believe by myself.

When I looked towards the top I imagined

a skyscraper piercing through the clouds, with a flock of birds as its tenants

waiting for a taste of the fallen fruit. And the fruit —oh the fruit! How bountiful were the rewards!

Their rough sandpaper-like skin

scratched at my small, tender hands stuck together and dirtied by the white sap

pouring out from the stem. But the buckets have diminished since

and only one can be filled to the brim because papa, now at a ripe old age,

has slowed down significantly;

the way he drags his feet, I fear perhaps soon

they will crystalize and he will be forced to remain

rooted in place. I know he hates being stationary—

he has always been a man in motion.

I grew up watching him tend to the soil,

his thumbs rich with dirt and greener than

the earth itself. He busied himself by tending to

a yard filled with chico trees, to the next generation

—to me.

How would he feel if he saw what I had become:

a tree rotten to the core, my branches empty—

practically naked and bare. The brown, succulent fruit

nowhere in sight, absent from his eyes.

Papa, if I tell you I am still growing, would you believe me?

I’m growing, I swear. Good fruit takes time.

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