An Instructional Guide to Saying Thank You

by Sophia Velasquez Martinez

Overripe mangoes
melt in wicker baskets
strays sip from sprinkler head pools
Nothing’s too pristine
not the buildings or their
salt-soaked bones or
the bakery that’s open
when it wants to be or
the fallen palms
elephant tusks bleached
in heat
The tight-skinned farmhand rides
overgrown
sugar plantation roads
tips his hat and grins
my black and white great grandfather
Our cat is the neighbor’s cat too climbing
the avocado tree whose fruit
is too big and too buttery
It’s taken me too long
to appreciate the papaya trees
bulging fruit green to orange
embrace their limbs
stretching into our yards shading the
plumeria as mountains bend into hibiscus
lined roads sinking
their teeth into the ocean and
I think surely this dream will
come to an end
breathing in unison:
pink light on peaks soft with
sunken footprints
blending birdsong
the sun through the
slats
and me.

 

Sophia Velasquez Martinez (she/her) is a poet and fiction writer currently living in Waialua, Hawai‘i. She received her BA in Writing and Rhetoric with a concentration in Creative Writing at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, and will soon be pursuing a Master of Arts in Creative Writing and Education at Goldsmiths, University of London. Find her on Instagram: @sophiaisabellavm.

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