Through bamboo slats, the sun
bakes stripes on concrete. Next door
fruit bats sleep uneasily in the eaves.
Francesca squats behind the open kitchen,
cuts The Star, The Straits Times
into paper squares. She makes ready,
waits for the day to back away
to a steaming horizon.
Its rice-porridge heat cools,
condensation on dark grass.
At seven o’clock, Francesca rises,
straightens her samfu to climb
the long-armed tree that crouches,
breeding shade in the corner of our yard.
One by one she wards each
not-yet-ripe green head
with words she cannot read.