That summer, just before sunset,
I would run to the trees that marked the village limits
to meet you. You only spoke to me at dark,
your lips rustling against my right ear,
your voice merging with the dry spirals

of harsh gnarls. Our cherry tree was
large enough to be a house, or a ship
that would swim across those infirm skies
of rust-streaked dragonflies. Feeding on
a clear drink of sap together, we fingered

each branch to feel that it was seaworthy,
and suspended a chrysanthemum doll
with a silk string. I had no home but you.
I would close my eyes every time I felt
your lips on my neck, and my throat itched

swallowing a thousand cicadas' voices
in a single glass. Short August nights,
at the tree's root, we watched the emerald flesh
of a cicada coming out of its shell anew;
you breathed on its pomegranate eyes

and turned them into copper beads.
I knew they must be red at the start
without having you tell me so. You had already
taught me the ideograph for living was
the same as for darkening in our tongue.