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Buckeye Joscelyn Willett Years after their divorce he found the picture tucked between pages of a tree identification guide, promptly shut the book, and pretended to find it again for the first time a day later. This time he was prepared, and as he pulled the paperback from its shelf he felt in near total control of his emotions. He remembered the book well and was inclined the day before to pick it up after nearly eight years when, finding himself alone on yet another Friday evening, he’d inadvertently flipped to the Discovery Channel and remained there for five hours. She had given him the book on their wedding night: “In case we find ourselves lost on a mountain with no food.” Over the course of their honeymoon they’d learned together which plants were suitable to eat, how to tell which were toxic, and the differences between native and non-native species. They became so knowledgeable of the wildlife around them their voices echoed for days as they backpacked through the Sierra Nevada, singing out “Dogwood!” “Madrone!” “Thistle sage!” “White fir!” He let the book fall open to her. She looked at him, her face young and hopeful, illuminated by a dusky Yosemite sky. She sat on a rock next to Bridalveil Creek, their first destination on a three week excursion. “We have to go here!” she’d exclaimed over a table of maps on a late night of initial planning just weeks before they exchanged vows. “How perfect is that?” He agreed. It was. Before a backdrop of white water she was smiling, her blue eyes sharp and deep, ablaze with an unforgettable fusion of passion and happy content. He turned the photo over. “You know what that is?” she called out, pointing ahead. Her boots left soft prints in the earth which he buried under his as they made their way off the path and into a sloped thicket of shrubs. She touched the gnarled trunk of a tree that bent upward toward the lone patch of light trickling in from the top of the hill. Large rustcolored pods hung from its branches, some cracked and exposed, others sequestered in their shells. “Buckeye,” she said, and plucked a nut from between a cluster of slender leaves. Then she bent down, cracked it on a rock, and gathered its seeds. “They’re poisonous,” she told him as she pocketed the tiny kernels, handing him the

Profile for Ariana Den Bleyker

Emerge Literary Journal, Issue Four  

We are a new journal of online and print poetry and flash prose dedicated to emerging writers and their words. We aim to publish poets who a...

Emerge Literary Journal, Issue Four  

We are a new journal of online and print poetry and flash prose dedicated to emerging writers and their words. We aim to publish poets who a...

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