the old camphor tree

tree ©papa osmubal

tree ©papa osmubal

the old camphor tree

lili han

The old camphor tree
that had lived in the garden
for hundreds of years
a ghost already
the skinny fingertip
in faded brown
scratched from the newly painted wall
traces mottled

under the tree, several Filipinas
dining at ease on spaghetti they’d cooked
backs to the quiet entrance of the hall
used to be headquarters of the old ladies’ corps  
guarded by a small statue of Guan Gong
who holds the great Green Dragon Crescent Blade 
against the blue Portuguese tiles
hung for the restaurant doorplate
these were all included among a tourist’s adventure pictures

the chirping of cicadas
irritates the old camphor tree
silent witness of a gloomy past


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