In the kitchen after dinner with three nesting bowls—
blue inside red, red inside green—the child pours water
back and forth between them, inventing a story
about three trees in a boat traveling through a typhoon.

Though he doesn’t know the word typhoon, he feels
the violent rocking of three toothpicks stuck in a cork
that seems to drown but rises to the surface of any sized bowl—
green, red, or blue. He’s not aware he is training his brain

to associate green with big, blue with small,
and himself with traveling trees. He has yet to meet
the green and blue ocean that will become his life’s work.

There is plenty of time to slop water on his mother’s floor
before she carries him to bed, his arms around her neck,
as a coral ribbon of sun presents the sky to the stars.

Published in Snapdragon: A Journal of Art and Healing