Photographs: The Tired
Trigger Warning: Mentions of death and vague references to suicide.
If you see my bones, speak to them gently. I took care to lay them down in the moss in that place I always ran to. I shouldn’t have done that, right? But running was all anyone ever taught me to do.
Between the log and the dogwood, I laid down a blanket so I could look at the sky. I watched through the shifting canopy, clouds that grew dark with water. Sometimes I imagined I was the one who brought the rain. The thoughts became too much. I had no one to give them to. I thought that the rain was everything I couldn’t say. I thought the free-falling drops were the words tucked into the corners of my mouth that weighed down my tongue, begging to fall from my lips.
When the river began to dimple, and the leaves got tired from holding back my rain, I breathed out one last time. I breathed into the fish and the frogs and snakes that crawled across my corpse. I breathed into the ants and the worms that set to the task of bringing me back to the Earth.
I gave my organs to the foxes and vultures that came to honor my death. I gave my skin and hair to the birds to line their nests in preparation for the speckled eggs. I gave my eyes to the maggots, nature’s small harvesters. I gave my flesh to the turtles, always hungry and ever watchful. I gave my blood back the dirt.
My bones, I kept for myself. They hollowed, became pitted, and settled. I coaxed ferns to grow where my eyes used to be. I felt the spearmint spread within my ribs. Morning glory covered my legs while periwinkle bloomed between my fingers. A mimosa tree struggled up from the crack in my skull, and its blossoms keep me warm during the night. I’ve never had a prettier dress. I’ve never felt more beautiful.
Now that winter has passed me many times, and summer continues to drag new life from my remains, I must ask that you walk softly. I am very fragile now. If you find the garden I’ve become, tell me a story. I like to hear fairytales. Maybe I’ll have one for you in return.
Just sit beneath the mimosa.
I’ll join you and watch over me.
Photo by Emily Goodhart on Unsplash