The Mangrove Man

By Miranda Kelly

Near the coast on the water’s edge

there lives a Mangrove Man

who was raised and rooted

with respect for the land.

“Look over that way”

he points,

“That’s where I was born

and got up with my brothers each new morning.”

He has watched the birds closely

and swam in the waves

and defended their shore

when developers came.

He sighs,

his eyes sinking in at the edges,

and tells of men in dark suits who come to barter with pledges,

and lust after his family’s land

for resorts or her lucrative minerals,

for the gains she could bring them:

she is only disposable.

“So I stay here and protect”

he says with a weak smile and nothing more,

“but I don’t know what will happen even before my lifetime is over.”

Obviously distressed is he,

for beautifully sacred is she

the water’s forest to the aged driver of lanchas,

the Mangrove Man,

with love raised and rooted

in respect for the land.


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