Microfiction Monday – 186th Edition
Her Son’s Garden
by JD Clapp
Maria sits by the garden, easel and paints set out, her canvas blank. She watches birds. A hummer, translucent reds and greens, buzzes lemon tree blossoms. Two crows watch from the powerline, cawing. The rabbit nibbling greens doesn’t notice the hawk, death’s harbinger circling above.
Maria’s face is moist, salty, despite the cool vernal air. Her husband and daughter, now chemical ghosts, churn in a jumble of neural shards, fading images competing with the empirical.
She sees him and beams.
“Sonny! I saw a robin!”
“Ready to go in Ma?”
Smiling, he sees a splash of yellow on the canvas.
The House That Does Not Die Alone
Generations grew their foundation on my bones—from birth to death to that which comes after. I provided shelter as they ushered decay.
I was once a fresh-faced thing. Made of strong trunks from the ageless forest, my walls built by skilled and callused hands, logs chinked with mud and sweat.
For years, high-pitched squeals bounced off ceiling beams, filling my rooms. Long-suffering mothers cooked countless meals in my kitchen, and knelt on my floorboards to pray.
My inhabitants are mostly silent now, scarce whispers from the chorus. They only ask, “What is next?”
We wait for the answer, together.
When my Dad died, the hospital handed me a tray with his personal effects, including the wallet, I’d bought him as a boy. The brown leather wallet was bent to the shape of my Dad’s buttock, he always carried it in his back pocket. I remembered buying it in Bexhill with a friend I’d made from the campsite where we’d holidayed nearby. I hadn’t known what colour to choose so my friend asked what colour my Dad’s best suit was. ‘Brown,’ I lied. My Dad didn’t have a suit.
It’s not possible. She died thirty years ago. But like magic, I smell her as if she’s beside me. I freeze at my desk, staring at the breezy blue summer scene of snap dragons in the window box. Pens in their cylindrical container, papers scattered around me, fingers curved above dormant computer keyboard. Paused, as if we all listen. Is there more? She smells of linen and soap. Then I hear her voice. Fresh and loving, her words fall over my head as they did in childhood. She is not gone. “Imagine that!” my grandmother would say. I am, Grandma.
Solid-gold band, azure stone with a star in the center like a slice of the Milky Way: my dad’s ring was endlessly fascinating. He let me try it on, peer into the little supernova, imagine the planet it came from.
Decades later my parents rented a suburban apartment. Smaller. Who needs that much space? Near dad’s office, to save gas. While helping them pack, I found the ring in a plastic, 35mm film canister. Light as air, too-yellow gilt, star painted in a sky of resin: thirty years fell from the galaxies to crash in the palm of my hand.