Ode to the Gravid Banana Tree

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Photo: Kevin Austin, flickr

By: Nylda Dieppa

Bunches of fat green ape fingers
Huddle around the knobby pole
That ends in a shy cluster of yellow eyelashes
Demurely covered in a wine-colored veil
Strong and thick and protective and bruised.

Food for some, decoration for others,
Nuisance for the ignorant
But beautiful.
Heavy, delicious mafafos,
I waited many years for your gestation.

Many years too I’ve waited for my own Birth
Awakening Empowerment.
The culmination of what I was supposed to become:
Beautiful, strong, foreign, pungent, fulfilling
Food for friends and foes alike.

Only the wise, the patient, the brave
Can look beyond the blood-covered front
That hangs, limp and lifeless-looking,
And picture beauty and sweetness inside.


Nylda Dieppa is a Puerto Rican writer, poet, translator, and author of Alborada: A Poetic Memoir Across Cultures, a finalist in the Royal Palms Literary Awards competition. She is currently working at her Central Florida home on a memoir based on the life of her ancestors in Puerto Rico titled, Amada (Beloved).

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The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by La Respuesta magazine. We encourage dialogue, debate, and learning in order to forge stronger, healthier Boricua communities and to strengthen alliances across social difference.