I am scared to lose the sweet
Harmony of father and daughter
hands in the soil
The damp earth and dark clay
Saying all that needs saying

I’m sorry for leaving,
Look at how I’ve grown,
See how strong I am,
I am here now,
I love you

I look at how you tend the soil,
Your gentle hands nursing trees to life
I know that you once did this for me, in many ways
still do.

Your love is in the takeout on the counter,
the abundance, the desk you built by hand —
And now, the trees.

You, dad, like to watch the saplings grow,
bearing lemons, pineapple guava,
The brightest red leaves, the delicate maple.
You know the joy of the earth, it calls to you
Like me.

We are not unalike.
I walk in your footsteps, shovel mud
In your garden, drink from your tap.
You are an entrepreneur, experimenting, growing
Me too, dad. Me too.

I know we do not talk about the things I do
Over an ocean, on foreign soil.
I don’t know if I will ever tell you in words
That the silence of your love
has brought me home.

What can I say, dad?
I too am planting seeds.
Growing beautiful flowers in dirt, tending
To the earth, to those I love.
This is my inheritance from you.

Before us is a dwarf red maple
Tiny branches with buds ready for spring.
we are here together digging up clay,
Pouring in dirt, creating a home for this
Little plant.

Do you know how much I love you, dad?
the promise of the red maple
Sings of renewal and faith
In what is to come.