taught gratitude praises
to a brood of ten mischiefs,
as not far afield, women born
with her same will to reach up
were cut off from breasts, with
machetes, caucasian desks
humming with backs turned;

what must the air have felt like
as she fed my father’s taut curls to growing,
read the news in javanese and indonesian
cryptogrammatics, as hot, slurring-thick
rivers of blood appeared around her,
rumour like leather whips circling the house,
her god there to tell to five times a day
as she felt the rusty weight of thinly-muffled
genocide, sat in the sun to grow old
into a tree that tends to orchids,
into a star that lives in the downward slope
of my nose, a wind that mourns then
greets great-grandchild, pair of eyes
set in the lamplight for 21st century spawn,
a quiet survivor’s long hair exists,
being braided by god in the spirit archipelago,
apology and relief,

two strands in her ether braid,
draping us stealthy with spekulaas
and gratitude praises
tinged with steel
and wrapped in wet sarungs.