Between Love and a Hard Place

Between Love and a Hard Place


Just days after he moved his

young bride into the house, he went

on a rampage, chopping, digging,


eradicating anything that flowered,

all the perennials planted years ago

by his grandmother:


peonies and poppies, hollyhocks and

grape hyacinths, an entire fence row

of heirloom tea roses, even a small grove


of mature pie-cherry trees, all because his new

wife hated bees. He hacked out every blooming

plant, save the grass and a prize snowball bush


in the front, spared only by his mother,

planted stock-steady between the bush

and the hedge clippers, bearing folded arms


and a death stare. That stand off, the beginning

of the end. Some months later, as she

loads her things into her Daddy’s pickup,


he sweats and scowls out over the sun-scorched

lawn, praying for rain, longing

for the shade of his grandmother’s trees.

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