The bleak swing of the matriarch’s trunk
shocks them. Daughters approach,
surge through mosquitoes,
pace a lament between femur
and scapula, nuzzle the skull
with its family smell,
as if to send love
into death. Then, enough.
They sway like galleons into the dusk,
churning up insects snatched
by a wake of birds. Bark consoles them,
water-scent lures them,
cool ways of mud sluiced over shoulders.
Mangoes ripen, the sky grows old.
Dust rises, dust falls.