Part 18

A lone tree in the middle of a vast
expanse. A pair of coucals, its largest
residents. A family of raucous bulbuls.
And every morning, a brahminy kite
sat on the highest branch as if
surveying its kingdom. Squirrels ran
amok and at the beginning of the rains,
a peacock would swoop in and show-off
its glorious plumage. That tree was a
separate universe. The clouds loved it.
It loved the sky. Something a lot like
peace fell upon that island of solitude.
But if you looked hard, there was beside
it, a pit, now slowly filling, crawling with
life, but a pit, as if there too, was once a
tree. A lot like this one. An ordinary tree.
The moon knows. It saw that tree one
night, wrenching itself out of the ground,
roots and leaves and all. Walking away, its
head bent low, not crying though, not
crying. If the lone tree knew where the
other went (because roots talk to roots
underground, you know), it didn’t tell
anyone, not even the one mynah
squawking for an explanation. After a
while, the bird stopped asking. The tree
stopped knowing. Only the moon knew.
But the moon is always complicit. Weak.
The universe stopped calling the pit, a pit.
The universe stopped calling the missing
tree, a tree. Nothing happened, said the
shape-shifting moon. Nothing walked
away from nothing. Nothing became of
nothing. Erasure is the way the world copes
with history. The ease of negation. The
amputation of time. Never. Nothing. No one.

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28 thoughts on “Part 18

    1. Thanks Magaly…in my experience, those in denial seem to get away with it. Life is not very fair or never intended to be, perhaps. It is easy for them to live without taking responsibility and most times those people are never called to account for their behaviour!! (yes, mini rant 🙂 )

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  1. The erasure of the past has happened too often. I like the way your poem starts in such fertile abundance then descends into absence and loss. It makes me feel that somehow we must right these wrongs and bring back the memories of those things that have erased.

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  2. I made that whole tree journey through your words….the tree walking away is a beautiful idea. And, towards the end, how very true of human nature that “erasure is the way the world copes with history.” Too sadly true. Sigh. A really beautiful poem, one of my new favourites of yours.

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  3. Looking away appears to be easier for most. It allows us to avoid the deepest of grief, which as Joanna Macey once said, can hold an entire universe. (I paraphrase) Beautifully written. I am now caught up with the series and look forward to more.

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  4. This is a powerful piece. This line stood out to me, “Erasure is the way the world copes
    with history. ” I loved the way you described the tree leaving and the pit being forgotten over time.
    Thank you for sharing.

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  5. Life has a way of continuing, as it did with the one tree that remained. But even if the moon denies that something else existed there, everything else still remembers, if for no other reason than to reclaim some part of them that went away too.

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    1. Broadly, those in the wrong perhaps erase memories, so they never have to be responsible. Those impacted remember but may not have any options. Perhaps we set the bar for justice and fairness too high and the universe is not even supposed to be any of that.

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