Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Red Bud

Red Bud

Damn Spring by Johanna

That damn spring. It either came too early or too late and she wasn't happy either way. Too early and she couldn't get enough of the snow. Too late and she was sick of wearing hats and mittens. Everyday she had to be reminded of their perpetual dependency on seasons. Coming home from school, the small tree in front of her house, What the heck was that tree anyway?, shared signs of growing, green leaves, falling leaves, bare branches, yellow buds and, finally, the appearance of flowers. Most people liked flowers. She didn't care for them so much. They made her sneeze.

She tugged on her sweater which never managed to stay down around her waste but pulled up over her jeans so that a small pudge of belly protruded. When did all her sweaters shrink? This year, last month, yesterday. Small mounds grew out of the front of her body like tumors and pulled all her shirts taught over their juggling flab. She tried to pull her jeans up, but that didn't work either. They hung down below her hips, threatening to reveal the five new hairs that sprouted from her pubis this morning. Her hips busted from her body as if to escape the uterus that was bound to betray her.

Red blossoms sprouted from the tree, a whimsical suggestion of love and renewal. The earth would awaken to a season of abundant growth. The rivers would soon rush behind her house. The birds already returned from their winter migration. Growth was upon them and she hated every minute of it.


This Is What I Think of When I’m near the House by Alan

This is what I think of when I’m near the house where Jenny Y used to live. Thick foliage, enough to provide cover for late night revelry. Or sneaking the fun out of the hours during summers or long Saturday evenings. She was, at first, a kind of early love never forgotten but never fully remembered either, as if set at that perfect distance away from the lens so as to provide shape but not suggest form.

There was a tree the sun would duck behind. There was a play the boy would sigh inside. There was a song beneath the red bud march. We were young and never quite free. Like a hundred thousand ants building the future. Like gravitational pull, like wires stretching miles, the wait was long for the mother and brothers to fall asleep. The lights flickered off one by one by one. It would get dark though it isn’t now. Her father was the gentlest man. Never heard him scream. But if he were to catch me there one of those nights waiting the wait. I’d catch a glimpse. Then the song, the song.


Ten to One by Forrest

One day they were all gone. They only packed two boxes, though not the withered houseplant. In less than three hours the house was dark again, unmade. For four weeks, no one heard anything else. Five movers visited but only stood outside, looking up at the red buds on the wild branches. Now, when six o'clock arrives, we are the last to know. They would often tell us that it must be seven. Eight to a house, brimming with joy, they sung. And then nine months later. What they would've thought to see us getting under ten one day.


Glow by Lyle

It’s not the tree, I said, tracing circles around her breasts as we lay naked in bed — her smoking a cigarette and looking over at that digital clock as it blinked, angrily, on the nightstand (why she had that thing, I could never remember, or imagine: it’s glow seeped between and through my eye lids as I slept, tried to sleep, no! even in my dreaming), on top of which also lay the photo of the redbud, full-bloom, a shock of flowers like her pubes that then reminded me of the the dark house, muddy with age behind it as if hiding amongst a flash — something dark, mysterious, unknowable — until, when I stopped, she asked, what is it then?

But one hand pushing buttons on the clock, the other idly tipping ash onto the floor.


Locusts by Nicole

I step on them because I can. Because it feels good when I pull their shells off the house and line them up in long rows on the cement by the air conditioner. It’s like Evil Knievel and his cars – but I start first with the very end of my heel and smash them slowly until I am standing on my tippy-toes. When I pick my foot up they are like dust, small and fine as the flakes of oregano mama uses to make spaghetti. I sit in the grass and blow my skin until all the pieces fly away and land somewhere no one can find them.