Life Sentence II

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
there is a lovely bookstore near my house, and I bought a book of poetry for five dollars there, from an author who frequently pops in and does readings. I carried it with me for months in my bag before I picked it up.

then I fell in love.

Submitted: September 17, 2008

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Submitted: September 17, 2008

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"It makes a difference to me
whether God knows of or wills
the fall of a single sparrow.
It matters to me
if my sorrow is shared
or simply observed, if my
loss is felt or only numbered."
-Scott Lubbock



This is autumn, and I am standing out on the rows of crops you never planted. You had wanted desperately to live somewhere that still had room to grow, a little patch of earth that had not yet reached its full potential.

I wonder if the window-box petunias in the apartment complex give you that same satisfaction.

Do you water them yourself? Do you wait for the tea you poured for her to grow cold, and then dump its contents back in the sink to use the cup? (Whenever I think of you with her, I imagine you don't have enough silverware. Enough furniture. Sometimes just a mattress and the remains of a cheap china set she inherited from her mother. And the kettle.)

By the way, though you took the kettle, you left your boots behind. Though today the imprints of your feet press against the callused heels of mine, I will wear at them until I am no longer walking in your footsteps. It's a closure of sorts, as in:

I am waving you off on the Mayflower
and you are sitting cross-legged on her sparse kitchen floor, hands cupped around a steaming cup. It is lucky you have your tea, because I have pictured you with no refrigerator. No food at all, really- we'll see how long you last. Will your fickle hothouse flowers thrive on your meager offerings?

I am feeling the evening chill, but I am not returning to the house of overstuffed furniture and bad paintings (mostly by your acquaintances). There is something special about this moment, your empty garden, that I relish. I could fill it with the things you always wanted, tomatoes and corn and zucchini entwined under a crisp and starched harvest moon. I will cherish and uphold them and with all my heart I will make this pledge: that they will be stronger and more fervent in their agricultural mania than anything you could have ever grown.

The secret is just the right amount of pain.


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