poetry quarterly

10th anniversary


Regie Cabico



Mother fetches the fruit from the mango grove
.......behind closed bamboo.
.......Rips its paper-leather cover during midday recess,
before English class, describes their dance
peaches plums cantaloupes before my first-world
.......eyes. When the sun blazed on the dust,

she let the mellifluous fluids
.......fall on her assignment books.
Where the mangos were first planted, mother,
an infant, hid under gravel
swaddled by Lola, my grandmother,
after my mother’s aunt and uncle
were tied to the trunk
.......and stabbed
by the Japanese. Mother and daughter living off
.......fallen mangos, the pits planted in darkness,
.......before I was born.

We left the Philippines
.......for California dodging
U.S. Customs with the forbidden fruit,
.......thinking who’d deprive mother of her mangos.
Head down, my father denies that we have perishable
.......foods, waving passports in the still air,
motioning for us
.......to proceed towards the terminal.
Behind a long line of travelers,

my sisters surround mother
like shoji screens as she hides the newspaper-covered
.......fruit between her legs. Mangos sleeping
in the hammock of her skirt, a brilliant batik
.......billowing from the motion
of airline caddies pushing suitcases
.......on metal carts.

We walk around mother
.......forming a crucifix where she was center.
On the plane as we cross time zones, mom unwraps
her ripe mangos, the ones from the tree Lola planted
before she gave birth to my mother,

the daughter that left home to be a nurse
in the States,
.......who’d marry a Filipino navy man
.......and have three children of her own. Mother eating
the fruit whose juices rain
.......over deserts and cornfields.


Regie Cabico is a poet and theater artist who performs throughout the UK and North America. He curates and hosts Sparkle at Busboys & Poets and is the workshop leader for Brother Tongue, a collective of queer male poets in DC, where he resides.


Published in Volume 13, Number 1, Winter 2012.

To r ead more by this author:
Regie Cabico
Cabico's Intro to the Split This Rock Issue: Vol. 9, No. 1, Winter 2008
Regie Cabico: Audio Issue
Regie Cabico: Tenth Anniversary Issue
Regie Cabico on DC Slam: Literary Organizations Issue
Regie Cabico: Langston Hughes Tribute Issue
Regie Cabico on Essex Hemphill: Poetic Ancestors Issue