Banyan

No sign of her –
a single woman
waits at the tree.
 
I’d always thought
of it as my tree.
Towering crown,
 
trunks as deep as houses.
Red ants march past;
some climb my shoe.
 
One bites my ankle,
but I don’t move.
Red swell. My friend,
 
the boy, runs in circles
around the tree. If I give
chase and slip no one
 
will catch me. I crush figs
underfoot. Skin, flesh
and seeds. The birds roost
 
and scream their news.
Incense rises from the temple
and fills the evening sky.
 
Under the branches of the tree,
a girl waits for her mother
behind a curtain of roots. 

 

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