Written by Cato Jun

Edited by Rodlyn Mae-Banting

the fruit

was the first thing i noticed 

about the mango tree in the park.

the ripened crops were like sunbursts,

peeping through 

the branches.

i stood underneath

to feel the tickles of the twigs.

it felt like someone was playing with my hair,

twisting the strands with long, stick-like fingers.

i looked up to see the giant 

looming over my small self,

but somehow i felt safe.

i leaned my forehead on

the trunk.

despite the coarse bark,

the tree itself felt soft and warm.

it may have been a kiss,

or just a layer of moss.

i laid down on

the roots.

the system spread in all directions,

but there was a part

where the growing roots gathered,

as if it was a seat for me.

at the ground level, i saw

the fireflies.

they were teeming all over,

suddenly disappearing,

then reappearing,

following a rhythm of breathing,

perhaps the pace of smoking. 

but by that point, my eyes were heavy

and drooped shut until

the morning.

i was awoken by someone:

a man with an ax.

he told me he had to cut the tree down, 

as it did not follow city protocols.

i was apparently welcome to pick the fruit,

but i said i was fine

as the mangoes were not the thing i was going to miss.

the man started to slam his ax

but was stopped by

the giant.

i had only heard stories of the kapre,

a large protector of his tree,

this tree.

the giant turned around,

looming over my small self,

but somehow i felt safe.

his hair mangled with moss,

his fingers long like twigs,

his eyes bright like mangoes.

he cracked a small smile,

but his sun eyes burst into tears.

*

i do not remember anything.

i am suddenly lost.

there is a man walking around with an ax in this park,

so i wander until i see

the fruit.

it is the first thing i notice

about the mango tree in the park.

the ripened crops are like sunbursts…

wait, do i know this tree?

Illustration by Andy Pham
Instagram: @beingofmatter_art

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