Plantation

I sat at my desk this evening, bereft and ashamed
It had been a hollow day
With nothing to show for it, and not
For want of inspiration. The dream
From which I had awakened
Lingered on in the morning, with acre upon
Rolling acre of my grandmother's coconut plantation about my pillow
And her lumbering cottage in a corner.
But when I got up words would not flow. Or,
They were all wrong. And I walked away. Even though
I was happy and laughing -- a child, there -- looking up
At a fruit my dad was trying to fall.
His mother too was watching then
Standing on her two bound feet, each one all of five inches long
That held up a large-ish figure. You see,
She belonged to a time when only girls with the daintiest shoes
Were regarded with respect. So, at the age of nine
My grandmother trained her bones and folded her feet in half.
This meant endless nights of tears and sleeplessness
Days of resolve and not giving up
Years of sheer physical strength.
I wish I myself were as strong, or a fraction like so.
So that on a day like this
Despite the stubborn dam I could keep at what I was doing.

Say, I did that in the way I've described
Keeping at it, at writing
Tenacious, patient, focused.
From there I'd have come to focus on the plantation
And from the plantation I could look up
And see the fruit my father was determined to yield
Beside his mother. My indefatigable grandmother.
The land, the trees, and cottage.

I wish I could do that
Without self-doubt
And feeling frustrated
For feeling frustrated.
I know it's time to renew myself
For I want to stand on small
But mighty feet and try to win
The fruit, however high, however awkward.

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