Split: a star-like reflection.
Flesh like the fire-belly of a newt,
only since coming each autumn
have I taken to swallow firm
of others sun-dried.
My tree bears no shapes
of pumpkins, acorns, hearts.
Year wanes, forest like dead moss
branched, bambooed, deciduous
Valleys fold, mountain. Ages
since I’ve seen these orchards
blushed with blossoms. Instead,
same crimson vines retain another
cemetery. Penetrate overlong tunnels
to reach where the river tumbles
and gravestones are made.
He’s always there, waiting. Carts
my luggage up narrow metal stairs.
The mechanics of each other’s language
rusted. Before dusk, we savour
persimmon cakes in the square of
a ginkgo-gilded park.
He peels skin, slices hard-petaled tops,
leaves stem to tie into curtains of orange
strung onto bamboo poles. As they dry
he honeys their flesh with his touch
readying their pulpy, jelly inside.
Dried, they can keep for nearly a year.
November. Happy Birthday.
A single shrunken offering.
Its malleable body crusted
with white crystals.