The Caribbean Writer

For My Uncle Who Wept Every Time He Sliced a Papaya in Half

Virgil Su


Was it the idea of separation,
the way the onyx seeds hung
on like a useless chandelier’s
teardrop, glass reflections
of your exiled life in Miami?

Was it how dull the knives
had become, or the soft
music from a neighbor’s yard,
a year in which the downpours
drowned your tomato crops

Was it the pale yellow of flesh
that reminded you of a woman’s
breasts you had once touched,
cupped in your hand like a glass
pitcher, warm to the touch, supple?

Was it the hard rind that prevents
so much damage over the years,
like these scars from falling off
rooftops where you worked
tarring and tiling?

Was it the reminder of uselessness,
how once you cut something in half,
you can’t put it back together again,
how once you remove a boy from home,
no other island will do? What was it?


Copyright © Virgil Su

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