You walk to our front door,
You are greeted by unfurling papaya trees
Up to your knees.
“It is good luck to have unplanned fruit-bearing trees.”
This stubborn grove of papaya kin
Grew out of seeds sticky with spit.
Yes, we ate papaya slices voraciously
Juice dripping down our chins.
Gnawing at the orange core
Delighted in the wealth of our sandy loamy land.
You see my tito crouch so very low into the grass.
Why is he kneeling in the dirt?
He digs and digs into the Florida soil
While his spurting nangka, chico, and jacaranda trees
Clapping their branches,
For a new seedlingsibling of theirs
Is to be born.
My house is made of red tiles, papaya, cream pillars,
Papaya, grey driveways, papaya, dry grass, & papaya.
Tito hoards papaya seeds like gold nuggets.
They are grey pearls resting at the bottom
Of trodden mud and wood chips.
We pay in papayas.
My uncle cries in papayas.
His hands remember Nanay’s hands
Oni J is a non-binary Pilipinx poet living in FL. They believe in the healing power of poetry and oral history. In their free time, they enjoy composting, baking, and finding new Pilipinx musicians to listen to.