As a youth I would climb high up in a thin-limbed tree,
bark scratching bare arms as I picked cherries,
dropped them into a bucket
and relished the wind on my face and the sunshine that warmed my skin.
These memories are now confined to a picture my mother gave me many years ago as part of a birthday gift: one photo in an album full.
But when summer downpours sucked my sister down a ditch
under and inside a thorn bush's craggy and cavernous insides
I learned not to expect worn out shoes
or tattered clothes to keep the rain out:
fungal feet swollen like monkey paws clutching pacifiers.
Parched throats need water
and arid eyeballs stare up periscopes with foggy lenses
only to see
mountain gorillas running on four legs
their knuckles skipping against stones
(instead of English they use sign language:
universal love signifies speech like bitches signify heat).