This poem won Peoples Choice in 2-Day Poem Contest 2021

My father strikes a jujube tree and
the sundried fruit balter
into a bedsheet I hold below. How strange,
to beat a living thing for its dying fruit. To
wrest from it – with violence – what it already
abandoned nurturing.

It is my grandmother’s final autumn. Here,
in her garden, our years apart
are a lacuna we ignore, nubivagant
like the sheer October dust.

Before leaving, I embank my suitcase
with hundreds of jujubes, each
a drupe I caught as it whizzed past me
under the mustard sun. When I am finally
home, a continent away, fruit
the colour of deep blood
pours from each palm until my hands
are coated in their dust.

I want to believe distance
is a runny thing, a thin covering dripping
away with each visit or each fruit
from your grandmother’s yard. But
I have come to learn that distance
is a thick stain you wrestle with,
and you, the thing
you beat.