Tending the Epiphyte
By Gita Ralleigh

Like a banyan you blew from afar, seed windswept 

on an unwilling host. Here you branched, rooted amid 

strangers. A strangler fig, your long shoots strained 

towards the light. Radicles found hard soil, you rose, 

branched multiple, ready for the fight. Tried to recall

the cry of mynah, call of koel. To summon up a failed

understory of memories: interior sepia’d molasses, 

steam hiss off cotton saris, naked foot slapped on floor.

So much is invention. In our entanglement, how else 

to unbind this mesh of surging roots? Allow the wasps 

to swarm tender fruits, resin your gall in precious amber. 

Tend to the epiphyte: love-twined upon another’s 

hollow core, supping of its empty flesh, scented rind.