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  • Abbas Karim

Old Purple Van

Sitting in your old purple van,

eating hard coconut candy

was one of my most

blissful days in life.

Why hard coconut candy?

It seems I only know a fraction

of the ones who planted within me

immense love and care.

Love and care felt by your family,

whom you both

nurtured shoulder to shoulder.

A couple alone on this island,

to take care of,

and plant a family of seven.

A family of seven soon multiplied,

from two, to seven and now,

almost fifty.

I can only imagine how proud you

both must be,

to see the fruits of your labour

harvested, shared, and some

using this fertile soil,

to plant their own trees.

Trees and their roots are inseparable.

And I constantly find opportunities

to unearth my roots.

Photos of togetherness, decades

before I met you both.

Songs you might enjoy.

Stories of a

pair toiling, struggling

to till the land, cultivate the crops,

and feed a generation

that you both may never

get to meet.

Stories of sacrifice,


hardship, bravery.

Stories which

give those photos a voice, a

personality which I knew only

a fraction of.

And yet in this fraction which I knew,

I would always reminisce chewing

that hard coconut candy,

in your old purple van.

Illustration by Izza Haziqah (Instagram: @hellohazi)


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