blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1




Nine women claim a baby boy in Sri Lanka.
One will eventually win,

perhaps the loudest or the one with a sack
of rupees. The boy will

grow a beard and wonder about the other
eight who quarreled

over him. He will wonder about the one
who threatened to kill herself.

He will move through life, deeper and
deeper into the trees,

until suddenly, a clearing—a single ficus
in the center of a field,

its roots wrapping tightly around the trunk,
a slow choking of itself.

The wind will pause around the damaged trunk,
the way it considers

a splintered fence. The boy will pause.
He will bend down, touch

the root’s collar, cut just outside of it, angle
his knife down and away.

He will do this until the roots flurry out
and untangle themselves.

He will go from tree to tree, lit by the light of
nine moons, untangle

the world’s vessels. 

return to top