I could, if you want, I say, tell you about the Malay words for Tree.
She shows me some white powder in a coffee jar. I think it best
to like it’s wet skin in my hands. Squash it! she says, and it reshapes!
Not like today, every hour both precious and mundane. The mess
she makes! Squeezing and squeezing until there’s only a fine mist
in the air. This is D, this is A, and later we’ll learn B Flat.
Breathe! Breath! Fingers! She is too careful not to fail to wish
to succeed at holding her part. She’d rather break the spell
than feel too much the mountains she imagines she’ll need to climb.
Ah to be her sleeping angel, lingering in bright rainbows overhead,
humming that melody she will, if she chooses, learn to be.