Rituals of Welcome

I can only imagine the scene. Or scenes.
At this hour are the traffic of movements
of feet and minds and hands. Children,
three of them in a concert of emotion
with my absence, talk of making the fruit salad
from the coconut tree I planted when,
in the years of our want and fiery hopes, I touched gold
in the seed with its future of flowers and fruits
food and faith in abundance
all coming in off-season, rain or no rain.

It is the mixture of memory and all the other
ingredients I like. And the care for preparing
a bowl of love with the coconut meat in slices,
long and thin like the rice noodles
that go with this ritual of good graces.
The pancit canton is for long life
and the greens as well like the okra
fried in corn oil and in the heat of our
missing each other for the many new years
we have spent burning wires and greetings
miles and miles away from each other.
The e-mail, of course, is a constant,
with the smiling faces and the e-cards
with their well wishes, some formulaic,
the others complaints about not being there
about them not being here. I see the all-year round
fruits tied on to window sills and railings,
caressed sometimes by the mountain wind
that comes to visit in raucous nights like this new year's:
the foreigner's grapes, red and green for a variety of sweet luck,
a heap of three bunches with their long thread so they sway
with the dance of this moment
the oranges, watermelon, pomelo,
apples from Washingtom with their bloody
suggestion of delight and destruction
whichever one you want to view
the ponkan from China with its seed gone
so we can neutralize our taste buds
and soon forget how is it to be bitter
about life at home or abroad
some other fruits that count to twelve,
on a wooden bowl or tray of rituals
to remember as for always
what we have come to in all our years
in this life of our best days.
We connect and reconnect
and this should make our new year complete
like the fireworks giving way to a few seconds
of spectacles and then everything is gone
save the refuse on our streets, yards
and ourselves. Then again, some glories come
even when moonlights are epiphanies waning,
this year of the rat or no rat.

You call home seven thousand miles away
and the call bounces back with loves
in multiples, some honeyed and hopeful
and the rest our contract with some saviors.

A Solver Agcaoili
Hon, HI
Jan 2/08

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