Crown of Leaves

Each rivulet in the triangular curtain of silt collected over eons in the elbow of the tributary caught the setting sun like a coin.  The wide river bend shimmered like the selvage hem of some unimaginably generous galaxy, slow waters curtsying past the bank where the giant tree made its purchase in the loam.  From her vantage in the tree’s top branches the girl looked out over endless leafy crowns of cypress, wild pear, myrtle, gripe and winter beech, all piled like rough street children sleeping dreamlessly in one another’s arms, their hair tangled in knots.  A long continuous section of rind from the blood orange she was peeling spooled from her knife all of a piece.  Brushing the hair from her forehead with one finger she folded the knife in the other hand and began eating the orange in segments.

The light sounded its incandescent phrase across the shining waters.  She sat gazing for a long time and the juice stained her fingers.  Afterward she climbed down onto the platform and entered the main room of the house in the tree.  The dog got up, turned in a circle, flopped back down.  The girl lay across her bed as thoughts of her life, what it had been and what it had become rose up like water in a well.  She slept soundlessly and woke to the sound of kingfishers in the rigging, raising their feathered hats toward the east with a huzzah for the new day brimming at the lip of the world.


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