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by Andrew Bertaina

Like the dogwood blazing pink in the yard, perhaps one day I too will bloom. I see it happening some late spring afternoon, after the quick rinse of morning rain. I’ll be reading a newspaper and smoking a cigarette. Suddenly, the blood in my veins will become thick and heavy with the fullness of things. I’ll rise quickly, and walk down the sidewalk, catching the eyes of everyone I pass, so that they too can see the bloom spreading inside me—my legs turning to knuckles of roots, arms into slender boughs, fingers into delicate pink flowers. I’ll stop traveling the block asking after politics and the coming rain. I’ll stop the ceaseless chatter of who’s divorcing and whether winter has lasted longer than the prior year. All my life will be gathering light, sifting soil, filling myself with the wind-hollowed songs of birds, greeting bee’s gentle legs arriving softly through the glassy morning air, tending to the quiet things in life I have so long neglected.

Andrew Bertaina‘s short story collection One Person Away From You (2021) won the Moon City Press Fiction Award (2020). His work has appeared in The Threepenny Review, Witness Magazine, The Normal School, Orion, and The Best American Poetry. He has an MFA from American University in Washington, DC.

Lead image: “pink pattern” (via Flickr user liz west)