Greetings! Every week throughout the summer, BOA's staff and interns will share one of our favorite poems from our over 300 collections of poetry. This week's poem is from Diwata by Barbara Jane Reyes.
This is the story I was told: she doesn’t remember when the yellow house
was new, when the backyard, formerly a farmer’s plot, was a mess of thorns
and weeds. She doesn’t remember when the fi rst rains fell in autumn, when
the weeds grew a grown-up’s waist high. She doesn’t remember how the soil
was so rich, how the worms were so juicy, wriggling, and fat. She doesn’t
remember how the pechay just grew there, fi rst tiny leaflings, delicate
stalks. She doesn’t remember, but the pechay grew hearty, its stalks thick
and fi brous, leaves dark green and curly. She watched Mama pull those
pechay right out of the earth; guisado, sinigang, nilaga bulalo.
This is what I remember: she cleared away the weeds and thorns, mulched
and composted lemon tree branches. She helped lay down brick, and riverine
pebbles. She dug up the earth, though decades had passed, the yellow house
faded and painted anew. She dug up the earth, warm under her nails, still
wriggling and juicy with worms. She planted tomatoes, parsley, and squash.
She planted eggplant and yellow bell peppers. So long ago, Mama withered
away, a skeleton, dementia-stricken. But she planted, and the tomatoes grew
to her waist, beside deep pink rosebushes, blooming, full.
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