My face turns like the Hourglass Nebula. The underwood-breathing, eagle-shrieking, minnowed whirlpool of my mind brims like the stream at full spate.
I love everything that tumbled from the plateau into crayfish pools – their claws are the dead waving, beckoning me up to the cascade, to shower under its silver shoals.
The drops shocking my skin seem to sprout feather-shafts as I fly through the mossy past. And back into the sunglare, to dragonflies magnified by noon,
the museums of their abdomens, wings opening like skylights of art galleries. I have spent my life trying to see these living palettes give birth to colour.
I love the sun-bronze kingfisher and mud-velvet water rat equally in their earth burrows.
I love the bear-bumblebee and tiger-hornet, the day frog and night toad, everything that teems where my giant shadow roams, while under Maman’s gaze my child-shadow shrivels.
I used to haul water up from the stream for washing, and down from the source for drinking. I was always climbing up and down the steep terraces,
my childhood suspended between the rungs, over the adder-surprising, grass-snake-flashing paths, as I paused with my load.
I was always scrubbing the spider-infested walls of our stone cottage with hard brooms, filling the cracks with stones. Yet each night, star insects crawled in from their sky nests.