“THIS TREE IS the kill-tree.  The leaves, the roots, the bark.  Every part of it is poisonous.  It does kill.”

“You mean I go die?”

“No, you have to eat it.”  He laughed.  “Nothin’s gonna happen to you.”

He began to crack the nuts, popping them into his mouth, chewing rapidly as he did so, eating noisily with his mouth open and chuckling to himself every now and then.

Midra followed suit.  The nuts were tender and sweet, the sweetest nuts she’d ever tasted, even sweeter than the ones he brought for her on Friday nights.  The thought of eating such sweet nuts under a tree full of poison made them taste even sweeter.  She moved closer to him and began to chew as noisily as he did.  She felt giddy.  The sweetness of the nuts brought with it a feeling of freedom and abandon.  Prince began to whistle softly.  The moon, his red hair, the kill-tree, the sensation of liquidity, of wanting to flow like water—everything in the gully seemed to be filtering out of a dream.  She felt the softness of the grass under her and stretched herself out on the thick carpet.  She closed her eyes and quietly slipped deeper under the spell of this night.  The song he was whistling became a dizzying echo as the moon’s brilliance made her feel like she was glowing from inside.  The sensation of flying swept her up.  She smiled.  She had never felt so untrammeled, so buoyant.  Now she was entering a cave filled with nuts and guavas and animals.  And she was the only light.  She dazzled.  The walls glowed.  A beautiful baby monkey sat on a mask of a woman with one breast, her arms holding air.  She ate more nuts from the floor of the cave and danced with the monkey.  She put the mask on her face and saw a woman searching for her son.  The monkey became a snake, sucking the heart from the guavas before it disappeared under her dress with the seeds.  She was thrilled.  She screamed at the unbearable ecstasy.  The seeds escaped and began to grow.  The snake withdrew and became a bird.  They flew off near the moon.


Glenville Lovell is the author of a number of prize-winning plays, including Mango Ripe! Mango Sweet!, which won the Frank Collymore Literary Award for 2002. His first novel, Fire in the Canes (1995), was published to wide acclaim, as have his crime novels, Too Beautiful to Die (2003) and Love and Death in Brooklyn (2004).