In My Mother’s Village, I Pluck a Mango | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 01, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:31 AM, May 01, 2021

Poetry

In My Mother’s Village, I Pluck a Mango

From the tree I've climbed only once

Years ago, at the height of childhood innocence

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I scraped and bruised my way to the top

Monsoon soaking my skin

To survey this timeworn town

Of rusty tin huts and clay

I listened to the storm-created symphony on the roof

Nature's old-fashioned xylophone 

And as the storm grew heavy,

The roof began to dent-

I wondered if it would live to see winter. 

Now, standing under the tree,

I clasp the mango like a prayer

Feeling its weight in my palm

A wait of 20,000 years

I think of the marigolds

My cousin would plait in my hair 

As my mother served khichuri on

Freshly plucked banana leaves 

We weren't allowed to touch until everyone sat down. 

The mango is yellow, 

bordering on brown

It's warm in my hands and if I

Hold it to my ears I can almost

Hear a heartbeat that sounds like

The pounding of brick and clay I hear in the 

Distance as tin is torn down, demolition 

replacing the homes that existed here

Long before Bangladesh did. 

My sandals scuff on a pile of

Night-blooming jasmine blown away

From the tree next to the lake where

I once caught a fish: it caressed my legs 

while showering and I leaned down to grab hold

thinking it was entangled seaweed

Now I kneel to grab a handful of flowers

That overflow from my hands except for one. 

My mother gently strokes the walls of

the worn-down temple where once, we worshipped

And celebrated and sang but now cobwebs

Weave through the doorway and

when she turns to ask if I'm ready to go 

I want to tell her, no, 10 minutes isn't enough to

Take in the 20,000 years my ancestors have 

Lived here and learn to shoulder that burden

In a foreign land but I say yes.

As we drive by paddy fields and fallen trees

I carefully peel the skin and bite into the mango

And feel the nectar, sweet on my tongue. 



Born and raised in Dhaka, Tapti is currently a senior at Milton Academy in Massachusetts, USA. She has been writing poetry for 10 years and has had her work recognized by the American Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

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