There once was a small olive girl so shy
When she spoke, there was a subtle sweet papaya honey in her voice.
She used to laze under the shade of the forest that was her home,
Made from colourful trees stuffed with yellow bananas, rouge mangos, pink rambutan
And millions of blinking star fruit at night lighting up her universe in the dark.
She was born in the August garden of orchids and jasmines,
Decorating her hair so long it reached her hips
With eyes so dark she attracted all the world’s lights to her
And olive skin so tan from the sun
Working hard on the farms made of sugarcane soil.
I wonder how good it felt to swim in an ocean so bright and blue,
Floating under cloudless skies lit by gold
Writing secret messages to her future on the white sand beach.
I wonder how much it hurt her
To leave that paradise at such a young age,
To rid herself of tropical dreams onto concrete walls
For a world that constantly told her what she lacked,
Caging her with four walls and false promises.
But I wonder if she knows that she did not let walls stop her from growing
Until she was as strong as the olive trees back home.
She planted three more, ripe and strong, made from her own summer soil
Sour, bitter, sweet olive kids
And she saw that her orange skies never left, replicated in their eyes.
As her branches grew older,
The smaller trees grew taller, broader, made of blue, red and honey hues
Until she was no longer alone under the weight of the world.
To my mother Olive with her words drenched with papaya honey from far away,
I hope you know your home still grows within me
Because you never left
You only brought its paradise back with you to me.
About the author
Rebecca Benitez-Berona is a reporter at Youth Mind. She is passionate about social justice, creative writing, reading poetry and youth mental health. When she is not writing, she is exploring nature or trying out yet another new bubble tea shop.