, October 18, 2021

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A Pair of Banyan Trees


  •   1 min read
A Pair of Banyan Trees

Photo By: Carlos Hidalgo


By Carlos Garcia Hidalgo

This morning, as I hurried to the bus stop,
I caught my breath in the shade of the ancient
Banyan trees beside the river bank.
What a sturdy pair, I thought, still in their frozen dance,
Leaves glistening, fresh as dew in the heat.
I remember, once, as we regarded their massive roots
Towering above us, you said the one with the arching
Trunks was the ballerina, bending backwards,
Ever so gracefully like a golden sound,
Her man guiding her as she leaps and pirouettes.
I laughed, until you told me you had been praying
We’d be taken together in the end.
Now wait, I said, why such morbid thoughts?
I never would want you to live alone,
Nor could I imagine myself being so.
But did you ever try to at least consider
What your proposition would most likely entail?
There’s peace and comfort in our embrace
But I tell you there’d be horror in my face
As we gasp for our last breath in a smoky chamber,
Or up there in the air, as the pilot
Tells us to brace and say “Hail Mary, full of grace…”
Would there be time to bid goodbye, I wonder.
This is no laughing matter, but why are my thoughts darker?
In your moist eyes I see commitment to the end;
I respond with dread.

Cankers have infested the twisting, sinewy trunks,
Scars of a long, tenacious life. Not even Mangkhut,
Feller of unwilling firewood, was able to thwart them.
And so they stand, not proudly but doggedly,
No crown shyness,
Their leaves and branches intertwine.
Your visit to our hometown was supposed to be brief,
But the lockdown has kept us apart for over a year now.
Freedom is a bitter fruit.
In the prison of my bereftness,
What spirit dwells in my hollow core?


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