47.2 - Spring 2018

Page 123

I imagined living here—buzzes above as I cut and cut. It becomes obsessive. I do. I need this plant to survive. (I used to be a tender.) The more I cut away, the more I want to cut away. I am surgical. Pull the lightest pieces away with my fingers, strip the fronds bare. I am surprised to find green fiddleheads, the tiniest furled shoots pushing through the thick tangle. Again, with scissors, I go in and trim close to the soil, except I can’t really see the soil for all the debris. I consider getting tweezers to pick away all the dead brown leaves in between the fronds. I wonder if it’s even possible to remove every single one. Maybe if I work in sections, I think. Maybe that would make it easier to tackle. I try to work, but in this pruning, I’ve created a sharp spiky landscape that pricks my fingers. I am scraped and bleeding by the end, but there is clearly more green growing there and I must get to it. I bleed and laugh under a shitty strip light in a freezing kitchen, realizing this whole thing is an embarrassingly obvious metaphor that I can see, but will not be able to write about for another year, at least. * I’ve pruned back my life. Where it used to be easy to tend my close up and faraway friendships, in this Pittsburgh year, it’s become near impossible. Where I would drive hours several times a year to visit. Where I would mark birthdays with presents and calls.



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