my son runs off while we visit my father
brings me a palmful of cape gooseberries
tiny globes suspended in ghostly lanterns
‘i found them in the bin,’ he says, and i follow
to where a tree staggers resolutely upright from a wheelie bin
other plants cascade from the garden
my father had to abandon when steps became treacherous
he still mourns the goldfish that died when he couldn’t feed them daily
golden in sunlight the tiny tree extends its bounty
still fruiting despite wizened branches
we collect each sour-sweet morsel – ‘we’ll have to wash them,’ my son says.
the taste of my childhood afternoons plucked
from a tree carefully planted nourished
in the home that my immigrant father made for us.
Renee Liang is a poet, playwright and essayist. She has toured eight plays and collaborates on visual arts works, dance, film, opera, community events and music. Some poetry and short fiction are anthologised. A memoir of motherhood, When We Remember to Breathe, with Michele Powles, appeared in 2019. In 2018 she was appointed a Member of the NZ Order of Merit for services to the arts. Read NZ page