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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.
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