A maestro in crisp melon shirt and black pants
his young daughter and three older women are felling four trees
a cedar, a eucalyptus, and two Norfolk pines.
He glares towards the sky. His Zhumir eyes shift and cut tree branches.
Zhumir (the local liquor) can make your eyes twist.
With a makeshift sling, a dark purple sash tight around his waist
he shimmies up the last tree, a Norfolk pine.
Ropes, one to hold him
another to catch the branch,
lift him closer and closer to the sky.
The young daughter’s neck in a constant curve
flawlessly connects with his movements
in the top of the trees
as he reassembles his black leather belt
innards and nerves.
When a large branch comes down, the girl is lifted six feet
off the ground hanging on the rope like a tucked-in moth.
She loves being tall for one moment.
But when lifted twelve feet high she screams as if cut inside and out.
She drops into a heap. Odd gurgling sounds bellow out of her mouth.
Your saliva turns sour. You offer aqua, no jugo. She reaches dead
quiet through the hole of the cyclone fence. She inhales
the aqua everyone holding their breath. Until she giggles.
All three women break into bursts of laughter
lasting for a half hour. Arms repeat lifting her over and over.
Far above in the Norfolk pine, the maestro Cheshire Cat’s smile pierces.
Slowly he climbs down the tree, to collect his cup of aqua
crusty nails bleeding. You shake hands, his eyes fully askew
from shifting towards the endless blue sky. He is trembling.
You may have been mistaken about those Zhumir eyes.