Memory and Bone

It seemed the plum trees
were already in bloom
but when I picked a branch
what fell—so much like flowers—
was snow.
~ Izumi Shikibu, in The Ink Dark Moon

“Memory and Bone”

January snowed gently under the Wolf Moon. My Human watched her garden through glass, her eyes swollen with recent loss.

“She needs to see me.”

No, said the voice that turns life into memory and bone.

“Let me show her that I’m here.”

Humans see nothing.

“You don’t know my Human.” My words were a growl that shook snow from branches.

The world won’t be changed for the sake of one.

The Universe was pulling me away. I pulled back, held on to ropes made of love-thickened tears, turned myself into memory, and pushed it into the Universe. “See my soul. See her.”

From a snowy garden, a lifetime away, I see my Human for the first time. Her mouth says, “Our house isn’t big enough for all this energy”. But her soul, the truest part of her, sings, She’s an angel—alive, happy, mine.

Years after that, I’m falling from a boat. Water hits my belly, fills my mouth, steals my breath. But my Human’s arms embrace me. We struggle, but she makes things right.

Then I show the Universe my Human and me around the house, living and doing, being the shadows of each other’s souls. Together, always… always, Together.

Enough. The Universe stopped my memory reel. If you are to her what she is to you, she will know you never left.

“She knows. I just want her to see me.”

You are snow and breath and moonlight. She won’t see you.

“She will.”

The Universe sighed.

I sprouted as a snow tree in full bloom.

My Human ran to the garden, reached for a snow blossom, and I crumbled. She sobbed.

I told you.

“No,” I said to the Universe, after my Human began to laugh through tears, her warm fingers tracing ‘Angel’ on snow that used to be a tree… that used to be me. “I told you.”

for Nina and her Angel

a wee note…
– Linked to the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads: Inside the Ink (Poetry and Flash Fiction with Magaly). Take a quote from the last book you read, and turn it into a three-stanza poem or a very short story… I chose the quote at the beginning of this post.

“…a two-fold paper screen painted in ink with a large ume (plum tree)”
by Kawakami Kōtatsu (1869-1957)

57 thoughts on “Memory and Bone

  1. This is so beautifully haunting, Magaly!❤️ Your words pierce through the soul like fire especially love; “The Universe was pulling me away. I pulled back, held on to ropes made of love-thickened tears, turned myself into memory, and pushed it into the Universe.” ❤️

    Lots of love,

  2. This is a fairy tale style I love. The perspective is wonderful and caring, and the third person human seems to be one of true uniqueness.. I thought of making snow angels when I read this.

  3. Of all living things, it is the four-legged ones who choose to share their love with us that know us best. For those lucky or determined enough, we can have them back…just differently. Your words were so true. My tears bear witness.

  4. Your beautiful words have been the healing balm my broken heart so desperately needed. I will treasure these words and the images they have painted forever.
    I see her ….. 💔
    Thank you my sweet brilliant friend. ❤❤❤

  5. This is so heartbreakingly graceful — gentle, three-deep inside music, that which is “snow and breath and moonlight.” Who is this familiar? animal, plant, deva or shade? Does it matter? Dancing along with it is soaringly familiar. Thanks, and thanks for the challenge …

  6. You kept me on my toes with this one, Magaly. Lots of action to keep up with. I was reminded of my beagle dog, Adi. She was a therapy dog my budy.
    Thank you for this prompt, I enjoyed it and you did well with it.

  7. Oh my goodness. Best thing I have read in a while. Especially as today is the sixth anniversary of Pup’s passing. The longing to see him………LOVE the line “the voice that turns life into memory and bone.” Spectacular. Love this story and, especially, the ending. Sigh. What I would give for a sign from my boy.

  8. So beautiful, and so elusively right in mood–flowers and snow seem to be so far apart, but the heart can join them together in a single breath. Loss breathes in the scent of the lost, and knows its face in any season.

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