Manong in Hendersonville, NC

(Author’s note: Manong–A term of respect when addressing an older Filipino man. It means older brother, or elder; one that has lived through the hardships of life)

No matter where I go

or where I move, a manong

will always find me

No matter where I’m working

or what daydreams creep behind


he is there

with legs slightly bowed

Swaying with each step

like a tree rooted

to all the earth

and on the thick bark of

his skin are stories

and names of medications he

takes and a date marking an

aortic aneurysim

And other things like

Filipino words that I don’t


You were born here,

that’s why you don’t know

he says

And he gives me

an instruction:

Take one orange and

peel it

Take one cinnamon stick

and some ginger

Boil and drink

Its good for your

blood pressure

I’ll make you some,

I’ll put it in a thermos

he says

And I thank this

manong, and am thankful

he found me

He will find you too





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