ONE POEM – Athena Ramos

More than you can chew

Around December, our grove
of banana plants grew heavy, saba begging:
to be picked, coated in brown sugar, wrapped
in lumpia wrapper, and fried in sugary oil.
In my mind’s eye, my grandmother takes her time.
An abundance of patience to the abundance of saba,
other bunches shared with our relatives.
She has watched them grow and ripen, hinog sa sanga,
picked at just the right time.
When she dips them into oil to fry, her fingertips
don’t burn.
                  It could be skill or force of habit,
that afternoon harvest, the caramel-sugar,
Turon she calls Valencia, the cutting and wrapping.
Fresh from the pan—a bite so hot it burns
but not enough to stop another bite—every instance
recalls but it blurs once I finish what I bought.

Athena Ramos is an undergraduate student at the University of the Philippines in Creative Writing. Her poetry has been published in Visual Verse. Her background as a campus journalist influenced her interest in protest art and poetry, though she’s trying at writing tenderly. She often tweets about her cat Spottie at @s_athena_ramos.

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