Thanking Kiran Desai for Reminding Me of Guavas / summer edward

The last time I ate a guava, Kiran Desai,
I was fourteen years old and didn’t have to go far
because a tree grew in the yard behind ours
in a corner of our wall and the neighbor’s,
a spindly, young prince of a tree
that bloomed once a year
and gave fruit a small space to palpitate
away from the lifelessness of other trees.
.
Maybe the sun called the guavas
over to our side of the wall,
so that the branches reached out to us,
their arms loaded with the cool, startling gift of fruit,
and we received the offering like monkeys,
climbing the wall and swinging our feet,
then falling down into the bush
making noises like we had just visited God.
.
All the way on the other side of the world,
you, Kiran Desai, must have visited God too,
an Indian girl perched in another tree,
sneaking into the shade behind New Delhi houses
to devour what was truly yours,
until your fourteenth year arrested you
and brought you here to this other land,
a land without the great mischief of guava.
.
And now, Kiran Desai, in our new home,
I inherit the rich plantations of your words;
flipping through your books I too remember
the sweeter spoils of a warmer time,
the old madness of taking love from a tree,
and thinking of this I have no idea
how far I will go to remember that taste.
.
•••

Born and raised in Valsayn, Trinidad, Summer Edward currently lives in Philadelphia. She is a Master’s student in the Reading, Writing, Literacy programme at the University of Pennsylvania. She blogs at http://www.well-lovedtales.blogspot.com. Her poetry and art have appeared or are forthcoming in Philadelphia Stories and St. Somewhere.

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