Monday, April 27, 2009
During break in school, all of us from grade four cluttered around the monkey-gland tree—its gnarled limbs choked out to nothing, flowerless. Masugu brought a knife one time and cut deep into the trunk’s heart, before it branched. Sap, brown and sticky, covered our hands as if it might never be washed away.
I don’t know why, but I dreamed about you last night. You were bald then, like the last time I saw you, and young. About nine. I didn’t know what cancer was, and still don’t—really. We sat, counting chongololos in the post-rain. They wobbled on their hundred legs, black-hunched and inching. It must have been March. Everything dripped in the gentle aftermath. You were my sister’s friend, so I don’t know why I was even there. You asked if we still rationed water. I told you the school built a small, stone-grey fountain in your memory—