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POETRY

Jennifer Castillote

He Called Me Mary

My name is Maria Victoria
but since Ahkong is 80
who always whispers prayers in silence
and so do I, we agreed on Mary.
My mind joggles but my steps aren’t
I always walk beside him
with his antique cane
in an unlimited time like everyday
just to stop at any flower beside the gates, pavements, and path walks
he adores flowers like how I admire lip tints
He murmurs while walking
but one day asked me in staggering voice
“someday will you push my wheelchair?”
I nod at him while staring at his purple slender legs
His shoes were bigger than his feet
and his steps heaving to the ground
Besides unlimited walks
he reads newspapers, orders healthy soil for his garden
and listens to passing birds’ ritual songs
His sedentary life of living alone 
in his bungalow is a reflection of his untrimmed trees,
knee-high grasses and shrubs and vintage cameras.
I know he has had a fruitful life but never bore fruits
Until now he knows history, famous men and women,
people in the Bible and the complete life story of his girlfriend
And when he talks about her
which he seldom does, there are rainbows in his eyes
a deep lump in his throat, and some twinkling of veins in his hands.
Life begins again and again
So I thought to myself
I should be like him
for I am Mary, 23
who admires lip tints and the world has a lot to offer.

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