After the surgery we gather leaves from the hillside,
fill the hospital room with branches;
crush green and grey leaves in our sterilised hands,
their scent dispersing into the quiet room.
Over the weeks the leaves begin to curl and dry;
drift to the tiled floor, crackling underfoot.
For some reason the cleaners never sweep them away;
as if they know that 'Eu', means well,
and 'calyptos', veiled or covered like the calyx
holding the heart of the flower until it is born
glistening and shining into the world.
When the chemotherapy and the radiation
have shrunk your aberrant germinations,
and memory of the pieces missing
seems stronger than those that remain,
we bring grevillea, hakea, banksia; those children of Proteus
that can shape shift; all of their generations
alight upon the same branches.
Your bare feet wade towards their fragrance;
your body at the window where jars and vases
sprout gods and goddesses;
their florescence's nodding and waving.
by Nandi Chinna.