The macaques at the Waterfall Gardens recognised
Me – a child of the flames.
Mother crept up to me, hairy arm reaching out,
(Feed us or else!)
Baby clinging desperate to her underside.
I was terrified of claws, fangs, sharp things,
Ran back – in half joy-fear – to my young father.
By his side I should stay always,
For protection and other vague needful things.
The jungle all around wheezed and whispered.
(Sometimes there’s a wild shriek that tore
Through the soul.)
Savagery in the undergrowth, in the blood
Couldn’t be appeased by
The Gods of the under- and overworld.
Trembling I held on to my father’s thigh,
Seeing nothing but green menace in the killing heat.
(Thousands of miles away a war had been fought
He lifted me up and smoothed my hair over.
The tears that were about to come flowed back,
And I knew without knowing father was
A deathless god.
31.5.16. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia