“Love continues to be a rose,” you said, “no matter what.” I rebuked you harshly for that one. You could have done so much better. “Love is all you need,” you said. Oh, kill me now. I couldn’t believe you stooped that low. I couldn’t believe the salt on the popcorn, or the dry stale flakes beneath the bag inside the box of cereal. I sat down and looked through the window and saw this leaf stuck in the screen. It was dry and shriveled and quite awful-looking, but once so green and full of chlorophyll, if that was in fact what it was full of. In those days, it hung on a monolithic tree and decorated the sky. It took so much courage to fly to me, where I could see it. It was dead, but came so far. I clapped for it. Staring through the window, I applauded a leaf. Then I rolled around on the floor and felt the carpet burn my skin, cackling at the stucco ceiling, listening to my voice echo off light fixtures. I babbled and sang and fell in love with particles of dust in every corner. “Jesus fucking Christ,” you said, “would you stop making so much noise?”
Anthony Hagen holds an MFA from Hollins University. His writing appears in Clarion, Bird’s Thumb, The Hollins Critic and DenimSkin.