The Unexpected Likeness of Beings


The verandah was surrounded by paw paw trees, banana plants, frangipani – a creamy flower dropped to the ground and it’s perfume floated in the humidity. Thirty degrees. It created a languor unknown at home, where it’s winter and a warm day might reach nine degrees.

Rooster caws drifted out over the rice paddies. A crane crossed the sky like a white bride.

I looked down and turned the page. We are sitting here together, my digestion and I. I am reading a book and it is working away at the lunch I ate a little while ago.

That’s funny, I thought. I’d just eaten lunch – cabbage salad – and was reading a book. Then I heard crunch, crunch, pause, crunch. A yellow grasshopper as long as my hand was eating a banana leaf. The leaf, fluorescing lime-green in the sunlight, shrank by the second. In two minutes the grasshopper had eaten a third of it. Then it stopped, perhaps digesting too. The creature gazed at me with unblinking eyes, insolent – like a goat. I stared back. It crept inside the curve of the leaf, until only its front claws showed, gripping the edge.

I picked an apple from the fruit bowl. I crunched into it, crunched, paused, crunched.

As I swallowed, I heard another’s crunch. The grasshopper had started eating the other side of the leaf, a crescent of air grew between its claws.

I crunched: it crunched. A sort of chopsticks duet.
I balanced the apple core on the table: the grasshopper rested on the leaf’s exposed midrib.
Core and midrib browned in the heat.

Suddenly the grasshopper catapulted into the air where more cranes passed overhead, a bridal party of tulle and satin trailing legs frail as lace.

Tomorrow I would fly off; leaving behind my white dress, folded neatly as an origami bird.