Atlas & Alice | Issue 5, Winter 2015/2016
Afterlove 1. He was my gem, but I did not adore him for his glinting brilliance or any gilded inlay. I treasured him for the rare glow. The singular cut of his crystal. The irreplaceable weight on my life. 2. He had impressed an enduring stamp on my soul that faded only with his death; fading in a way that made it more a part of my internal landscape; in the manner a bald patch of scorched earth slowly fills again with tender green shoots sprung from white ash. 3. I, who had never desired the brand of another to scar the virgin pasture of my spirit. Rather, like seeds cast windward, or spores carried on the bristle of bees, I hoped for my pasture to slowly/imperceptibly blossom and one day burst with the color and mature fruit of a life lived in pursuit of something like knowledge or glory, something beautiful that I could stroll through upon rising at last from my final sickbed; cradle in my hand the delicate blossoms perfectly preserved from my youth; smell and taste the bounty of what I had sown and what had been sown at my behest; run my fingers through the fruitâ€”heavy, perforated color-clots barely clinging to their vinesâ€”gaze wistfully at countless fallen petals: remnants of a ravaging love affair or painful loss of a treasured friend. And when I was carried away to the beyond, I could look down in suspiring calm and know I had lived my life as I saw fit, and what I had ended up with was not a Garden of Eden assuredly, but a tranquil, beautiful, testament to my life and will, my joys and sorrows; and its bounty would be thoroughly wild, untamed, free to spread and wander without the constraining slats of a garden fence, or the clear sterility of hothouse walls. 4. What a strange girl I must have been to hope for such things.