Her small leaves yellowed at the first touch of chill. Then as the northern wind roamed waking the hairs on the little girl’s skin, they butterflied out from the branches and dotted the afternoon verandas and streets with a certain kind of magic. A magic without reason and few audiences.
Winters were when she bled most painfully. Barks cracked and thick red resin oozed from the wound. In the house across the street, the girl lay on the
menstrual song raging. The two friends burned under noonday sun.
Whenever the boy came to see the girl, now almost a woman, her
branches would burst with round little leaves. He saw those leaves on his way to her home from station and knew it was spring. All their moments together in the hundreds of years before and after a shoal of yellow leaves
The mud settles after the monsoon opening the water-world. Sun illuminates the shallow bottom like a mountain stone. The kind you may only chance upon on a trip to the mountains and then keep it forever. Shoals of tilapia swim up and nibble at the air every few minutes and glide. Airplanes fly by in a sky distant and blue. She watches the bird-ish shadows trail over the mystery and geography of things lost and resting and hides her princess in a secret chamber beneath that silt-covered head shape. It could be a
skeleton or a ball of gold who knows what else and she waits for a glimpse of her when she comes out to casts a spell. But the princess only shows up in the stories and songs and huge oceanic shells of sleeps. She reads each a thousand times and once more.
An aged Mrigel turns up swimming alone into the clearing near the wall that separates their narrow backyard from the pond. “Is that you?” She asks, leaning from
other side. The fish burrows into the emerald spread without answering.
Every few months, the pond owner’s fisher folk arrives. They move the water, loosening the mud that spreads like smoke over the kingdom. As the net draws in, her heart throbs like the fishes trapped inside. She waits by the window the rusty grille presses hard on her girly flesh. She wishes for the princess to escape, she waits for her
The men leave when their iron drum is full. Sometimes they leave one or two at the spoiled bank. Sun shines on fish-bodies, fallen leaves and