Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Wild Lychees

From a Chinese childhood

A lychee tree overhung the garden
Its roots above the storm drain.
The hard shells of its fruit stained my thumbs.
The labour of peeling bark-like skins from eyeballs
Rewarded when blisters popped.
Fragrant juice tracked through the dust on my forearms
To drip from my elbows.
Each globe slipped in the mouth
Slid across teeth and tongue,
Till, unable to resist any longer,
Bite released cascade
Of sweet nectar.
Scented flesh
Stripped from glossy black stone
With busy little chews,
And I fell to unwrapping the next one.

Later, my mother, noticing the brown smudges on my thumbs
Accused me of eating lychees
As if it were a sin.
Hands behind me, cuffed,
I bowed and shook my head.
But I didn't really care what she thought.
Some pleasures are too wonderful
to be denied.