The sun smiles at its sparkling reflection
In the dew on my leaves.
A warm breeze flows between my branches,
And I hold the girl
Small, smiling and giggling.
In tiny hands she cradles my flower,
A vision as lovely,
As beautiful and potential as she.
Hidden behind changing leaves and drooping flowers,
Unknown to the rest of the world,
Her eyes are lost in his.
A flower blooms out of season.
They carve their names in my skin and
We are all changed.
It is no longer the girl and I.
I shiver, frost suffocating my naked branches.
Rotting flowers and leaves dot the ground,
Like fallen tears,
Mourning for stolen life.
She holds her child as I hold her,
Grief twists his face and wracks his chest,
Bleeds her heart until it’s numb.
A cold band and an etched name tie her to a ghost.
New life unfurls.
My flowers awaken, and fresh leaves stretch towards the sky.
I hold a different child,
Who smiles like her and laughs like her son.
Her past and present collide.
An ending and a beginning.
Teary, she plucks my newly bloomed flower,
Tucks it behind the child’s ear and smiles.
Time holds her to the ground,
Seeking shelter from the burning sun in the shade of my leaves.
Wrinkled fingers run across the names in my skin,
Heart aching only a little.
She marvels at an old, broken flower,
Marked by time but undeniably wonderful.
Between my branches she sees her life,
In her I see everything.
Words by Erin Stubbs
Illustration by Jake Warming
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