Childhood Memory

Dear mom

I am now recalling my childhood memory with you

It was not a good one though.

You left me raised by your sisters

As you went away for some days, sometimes even couple of weeks

They said you went away to get me some bread and sweet cakes.

I did not want them. 

I missed you so much 

Yet you did not come back for weeks

I felt so hurt. 

So I cried out loud every night.

Your sisters almost gave up on me.

They told me to stop crying and be quiet. 

That was how I learnt to stop missing you. 

Then one day you came unexpectedly. 

I was playing alone with my clay toys. They told me to get up and run for you and welcome you home.

I did turn around and stared at you blankly. I did not know what to say. I just sat still and being quiet again.

Your face turned regretful. 

Then you came to me and greeted me. ‘Are you alright, darling?’ you said. I just nodded and be quite again.

You felt strange with me. So did I to you.

Since that day, I did not know how to restore this bound between us.

But you keep trying to restore it and you never stop until today.

Dili, 2018

VZ

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Rosary of A Rural Lady

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Photo: A Timorese local woman

You live in a peaceful village

You grow along with the nature, the green mountains

Learn to follow the rules and wisdom of the ancestors.

 

In the morning, the cockcrow of the roosters wake you up

While the sunshine has not risen yet.

You enter the kitchen, lighting up the hearth and it smokes out

Later, a hot pitcher of an aromatic smell of coffee is ready to serve

With some freshly boiled cassava roots

It’s morning already’ So you said to everyone…

 

You live in a hut made of palm leaves and trunk

For your children, it is the most beautiful palace ever

As long as you are always there for them, every day and every night

To shelter your children with love.

 

To the spring fountain, there you go to take the water

Even if it is quite far to walk.

Filling the whole water pot, you carry it on your head

To the farm and rice field you go

To secure the food for your household

With palm leaves, you weave the winnower, mat, and basket

Those items are to contain the goods that belong to your household

 

You live with all your strength to serve

Sometimes you become weak and powerless

Yet still, you rise soon afterward.

 

‘The night is coming…’

So you summon everyone to gather

In a table with an ample of food

You fulfill their hunger, thirst, and fatigue

Then, there you sit still

Listening and seeing them talk

Measuring their mind and soul,

Feeling their burden and relieve.

 

Today has passed away

Yet still you believe that tomorrow is coming

Despite you do know not what it will bring.

You do ask not a lot of things

You do aspire not a high dream

As to you, it is enough

When the future of your children can be bright

Though someday, you might not be there at all to see it….

Dedicated to Timor-Leste rural mothers…
Vitalia Ze, Dili, October 15,  2014