the toddy tappers

By | 1 February 2022

it’s been years since my father
called Galle home
since sepalika flowers
bloomed in the night
and stole into his dreams
with their scent
only to carpet his path
in the morning
with their petals

years since the toddy tappers
climbed the coconut palms
and lowered the clay pots every morning
years since he walked to school
with his brothers in pressed shorts
crisp white shirts and black ties
and poked holes in the pots
then stood underneath to drink
the fermenting coconut nectar
more of it ending up
on my father’s shirt
than in his mouth

now he tastes the frost of a Canberra winter
sometimes snow, always cold
minus eight degrees celsius over night
creeps into his shoulder
and makes it ache and creak with
a longing for the tropics
and the warmth of monsoon
rain on his face

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