clinging to the branch on the jambu tree
planted on his passing, where sunlight veils
his hickory wings in gilded glow. Where the
shadows bend, hesitant, like they too cannot
discern whether amongst man, myth, or mirage.
I see his face, softly wrinkled and deep lined,
on the folds of heaven-sewn feathers; on the
sparrow’s crown laced in white wisps –
whiskers of the hair that tickled my cheeks
in bedside hugs and kisses goodnight.
In silent flight, the sparrow lifts a tawny
wing — a hand beckoning reassurance — and
flutters, down onto the damp grass breathing
the scents our hands traced so long ago.
Tiptoes toward my crouching figure.
Stay, Engkong. Reteach me the odysseys
of the tricycle. Carry me upon your wings, tufted
with cloud relic, as we reassemble morning sky
jigsaws and rebuild the birdhouse once more.
Let the puzzle of lost time hold us whole.
Memory is the requiem I hear in the chime
of rustling leaves, branches stirred by the
wind, all the unsaid words between us
translated in morning song, for the air knows
how to carry what cannot be spoken.
And we listen, Engkong and I, the sparrow
nestled at the navel of my ankle as if
I am now the elder and he a child, resting
on the lap’s cradle, both beings stilled
by the tender familiarity of presence.
*Engkong translates to Grandfather in several Indonesian dialects.
*jambu (also known as ‘Wax Apple’) is a tropical fruit commonly found in Java.
Tiffany Aurelia is a South-East-Asian writer and current high school student, from the bustling city of Jakarta, Indonesia. Home to a constantly traveling mind, poetry is her vessel to give her tumultuous, wondrous thoughts a home. Outside of writing, you can find Tiffany lost in the pages of another magical realism novel or training for her next badminton match.