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Mango Man
By Cristina Querrer

I remembered the vendor
who pushed his squeaky cart
of sweet corn, sugarcane,
and mangos in the sweltering afternoons,
through residential subdivisions of my past.
And as a child chased him down,
with my only peso in hand, anxious to fulfill
that nameless need in my early dawn.
Just as if the sky turned the colors
of burnt orange and the world smelled
of incense and my grandmother's coconut oil,
I walked this path before with many faces of my soul.
Thus, I returned here with the same perplexities
gastric questions that bubble inside,
back pains of my former loss.
My mother will one day look on smiling,
finally at rest in her hammock
contented for once about the heat,
as I will hear again that mango man call out
the objects of my affection.
One day pockets will overflow with pesos
and I will never rummage through that
garbage pile of pits, memory.
Just as if
the Bataan Death March of my life
took me down corridors of my realities
separating me from my husk
it is here that I am still eased
by visions of water buffaloes and rice patties,
fish set out to dry in the tangerine sun,
and the store owner sleeping
with the
fly swatter in his hand.
Something unexplainable ferments,
in my sultry past falls short,
and far beyond my
torturous initiation to salaciousness;
Yes, my first lover experienced me here.
A foreigner himself.
A part of that melding masses of ants
crawling into the crevices of the cabarets
of go-go girls and GIs, San Miguel beer,
and rotting mango seeds.

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Document last modified on: 01/23/2000

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