Thursday, 27 August 2009




She spins. Her arms full of the memory of dreams, goosebumps on her back. She wears amber on her neck and a wooden butterfly around her ankle. She steps out of the edge, and after a few inches of falling, the mist cups and holds her feet. The wind blows around her, lifting her black hair and kissing her skin.

The river far below
glittering under early sun rays, a swirling serpent -
scales rippling at the bottom of the basin of mist,
full to the brim
an ocean of clouds

She spreads her arms, turn, turn. Take two steps. One, two. The evening is a soft blue-orange. Swirl, the mist ebbs around her legs. Point her toes, tap tap, and a little vortex forms. Her hair flies as she spins.

The humid air, the waves of soft mist. The sinuous, bending river far below, flowing and tumbling, between the two steep cliff walls rippling green with the foliage of the acacia trees.
The air is fresh, lifting her thoughts as she taps softly with her feet. Tap, tap, turn. Tap tap. She has long black hair, black eyes and the small nose of little children. She is wearing a cotton dress with embroidered flowers in the front, and sandals. She walks on the mist. No one taught her but some time ago, when she was out with her mother looking for doradilla leaves to make healing tea, she found the little plant on the edge of the cliff. It looked like it was breaking out of the rock, and after pulling it she suddenly felt like taking a step out into the mist. She knew it would be fine, and it had been. One foot on the moist grey air, and a deep breath. She was aware of the canyon, extending far under her, and the serpent river below, and the breeze. Her mother had shouted and grabbed her hand, but Bansha had smiled reassuringly as she showed her mother how she was not falling, how her foot was fully supported by the mist. Wide eyed, her mother had released her slowly and watched her place both feet on the air and then extend her arms and start spinning, gracefully.

Now she spins again, and as she does, the air lifts her, slowly at first, gently, and then soaring in wider and stronger circles. There is the smell of rock and passionflowers, and of the nesting cormorants lodged high up where only the ficus trees grow. There is a rhythm flowing through her body, like the river, swirl, like the birds, tap tap. If only mother and grandfather could join her here. She closes her eyes and feels the early rays of the sun warming her arms and her face.

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