I always loved the way my mother
said the word ‘macapuno,’ which
is a kind of coconut that’s sweeter
and fleshier than the regular kind.
One time after she’d had her stroke
she came into the kitchen looking
for a jar of it, and when she said
‘macapuno’ it sounded like a long
slow journey, each struggled syllable
creating the opening lines of a great
epic. And I thought about all the years
it took for her to get here, living through
war and occupation, work and child-
birth and the raising of us, her children.
Macapuno–the word sounded like world
history, like what I would have said
had I been the first person to walk
on the moon. Macapuno–the sound of
swimmers swimming above the surface,
and the effort of these long cold days
we spend in the making of things.
First published at Vox Populi. The photograph of Margarita S. Padua was taken in the Shenandoah Valley in 1950.