One Hundred and Sixty-Nine.


Izzy circle


when he woke, there were fronds on the pillow
he thought she had brought them in for him
a gift from the garden

but when he sat up to take them in his hands
to examine them, to marvel at the tiny leaves
in delicate strings like jewels
the fronds moved too

he put a hand to his face in confusion
and was met with a rustling mass of leaves
that seemed to be attached

he stood by the window in horror
looking to the mirror
and back out at the lush garden

he held his arms out and tried to pose
as he thought a tree would
little salty droplets running down
dropping from the ends of his fronds

when he heard her come in behind him
he was ready to turn and let his rustle
terrify her

but she came up behind him
and her fronds tickled the back of his neck


Sarah circle


It was at the peak of the fever that she came to feel that English words were too harsh, too clunky to describe the jumble of belongings in the room. ‘Les petite noisettes’, she muttered quietly, unsure whether these were real words, but sure that French was the tongue to which she could turn in this time of need. ‘Les chansons per bon les mesdames’, she added, rolling the twittering syllables around in her head. She could taste the sweet thrill of good icing sugar, the brittle snap of toffee, the heady oil of hot butter. ‘Per favor dans le coterie’ dripped from her mouth and dribbled down her chin, and it was then that she gave up English altogether.



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