The Arrangement

On the mango tree, barely above the lovers’ initials, you mark the months of the baby.
Sometimes you still her hunger with sweetened water, other times your finger.

Your father visits with a Sikh man. A brand new suitor. He waves the baby girl away, instead asks after the boy and practices numbers with him. Remarks on his fortitude and intelligent eyes.

On the way back from the lavatory, you overhear the man tell your father that he will take you and the boy but not the girl.

The tree has survived six monsoons and the worst heat this year. You practice leaving, sometimes parting under the shade. Only to return and find her unbothered by your absence.

Your father sends pictures of your new home: glass house and red steel door.

Sometimes you clean blood from her diapers. Still she grows.

She is taken before the last rainstorm. You call two months later to discover she has a new home.

The tree blooms with the biggest blossoms that year.

Originally published in The Wide Shore, Issue Two. Copyright © 2015 by Ansley Moon. Used with the permission of the poet.