LYN LI CHE
Don’t start with the trees, but the forest.
You told me this. How simple it is
to colour in the thicket
or to smear the sky with my palms:
the stars will follow. How it
only takes a finger to make
a tree-trunk or the whorled shell
of a snail, a finger to show me
that my body is a landscape
you will paint yourself into
again and again – your rage
the rupture of flames across
my branches, your hands a storm surge
spilling across my shores.
All these years later, I’m still spitting
out your paintwater. Sometimes,
I trace a line from my belly
to my sex to try to find
your vanishing point or mine.
Your footprints leading down past
my stippled lake – fingerprint-flecked
and shining. Over my sun-dappled
gully, stretching on until
I stop, for fear of losing
my way back or forgetting the trees.
The way they grow around things:
benches, bicycles, pavements.
The way they’ve learned to move
in the wind.