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BLOSSOM — a fiction by ollie francis
Death beneath the cherry tree
Sunlight is the paintbrush of love. Your dappled skin, with the kiss of shade beneath the cherry blossom, is cool and tingles against my fingers. The air flicks away your hair from around your shoulders and it gathers across your cheek and drifts into the canyon of your neck.
I see insects crawl beneath the bark, burying into the gnarled core of the old tree. They will be its end. But for now, it gives us relief from the heat of midday.
I take your hair and twist it between my fingers, searching for its tip. I take the point and brush it against your face, letting the keratin strands stroke your eye, taking up the drying tear I left there.
You have always been beautiful. Your skin was once so smooth, so clear. It has aged wonderfully, the curves and rifts of contours remind me of the sand dunes where we played hide and seek with the girls, their bare legs whipped by the sea grass.
It all feels so long ago.
As the afternoon lengthens, I play with the dirt beneath by fingernails. You would hate me picking at them, but I could never abide them being dirty. I clean them with the care of a lover. I take your hand and pry out the mud and skin from around the cuticle. You should be clean before I lay you down.
The earth is dark and compacted. I use a flat stone to bury down into it heart, tearing and sawing at tree roots, and uncover no secret hoard of coins, no hidden treasure nor chest of gold. The ground still waits to be filled.
The first breeze of the night tinkles amongst the leaves, setting off blossom bells which knell to mark the end of day. The marks on my arms are filed with dirt. Later, I will clean them with TCP and warm water. Our home will be quiet without you.
I will visit when the blossom falls. When the cherry ripen, I will take them and bite them to taste you once again.
But for now, I look up to where the stars seem stuck between the branches and I smile; for I have given you a nightlight of starlight and a crown of flowers while you still sleep beneath the cherry tree.
Originally published on Tumblr
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