The Garden

— Soyla Mansfield

Really, I am all imagination.

I am seventeen years old, barefoot in somebody else’s garden. I walked three layers up to its summit, a bean-shaped clearing of wet grasses. Small string bodies curl along the periphery. Palms, bamboo and lavender shiver in warm air, then lull—muffled, sedate—into an inactivity that mirrors the sky. I know that everything is ephemeral; but here, in this green enclosure, time is moored. Even the sun is fixed.

You can know a place by the way the dawn dries itself on the landscape; but here, the dewy, golden afternoon is permanent. The colours bloom upwards and, if the sun did not already bathe them so wholeheartedly, they would leech it dry—if its gold fat did not already pool and drench their leaves. The wasps are gilt nuggets, the dust-mites are infinitesimal yellow flakes.

Entropy? It doesn’t exist.

I’m warm and eternal. So are these telephone wires, so are these aphids. So are these bacteria on my tongue. Trees open their hands to the wide, wild blue, and in their palms sweet-tasting airs collect: mosses grow, the robins sleep there. Outside it is white and -23°. The roadkill doesn’t freeze, but cracks brightly open. Blood swims along the snow rills; the robins eat the skins. I never go outside. I sit, forever, on this bench overgrown with bleached moss, underneath the dropping wisteria; and the sun sits coldly in a winding tree, like a plum burning insanely.

Softly, a lavender stem extends its upturned, skeletal fingers to the grass. The atmosphere is alive with minute glittering lights.


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