A Maple Tree, Chapter 5

Annie’s father had by now left as well, and so she proceeded to lay claim to the top of the stairs, the longest hike high, her intentions to uncover that holiest of grails, that ark of the covenant that was now all the more appealing for its newfound taboo determination. She reached the top and wrapped her clammy and shaking fingers around the imitation crystal knob to her father’s den, looking back down the thirteen steps, steep and brooding, making certain no one had come home to surprise her in her actions. As the coast was clear, she opened the door only enough to slide her skin and bones through, careful not to disturb any restless souls who might report her to her father at the slightest disruption. She glided across the carpeted floor and fell quickly to her palms and knees, feeling with her left hand under the recliner-gone-treasure-chest for that most sacred of tomes. First her index finger and then her middle one, followed soldier-like by the rest of her hand, wrapped around the spine of the book and she drew it out quickly and carefully, jumping to her feet after her eyes had assured her of her prize, lifting it high into the air like some Pan suddenly finding his magickal flute. She immediately dropped the book down to eye level and opened it, only to make certain that the words were still written within. “Why am I so excited?� she thought but quickly dismissed it as her teeth smiled a brightening throughout the whole room and she darted downstairs to refill her mug of tea.

The hot flowed quite nicely, oxygen and hydrogen boiling over one another in an endlessly braiding stream from silver pot to stone mug until the last drop that could fit bubbled the water up over the brim. Annie looked out the window and saw that big great Maple in the backyard, its limbs motioning her to come, it couldn’t have been more intoxicating were one of the Sirens singing from off one of its bows and dropping money as fruit to the ground. She was out the door and up into her favorite position, two limbs that formed a perfect seat, back and single armrest, all before the leaves could turn her tea green.

She opened the book to a random spot and began to read:


out on the wind
is a settling sound
of determination
mixed with resound
out in those trees
is a calling of pleads
come to your life
and it will fall on your knees

here in my skin
i can twist and pretend
it dies and it’s dry
or flakes and it sheds
here in my eye
is a wonderful sight
but i look it too long
and it sees me as slight

here in the sky
is the moon bouncing shine
i’d like to be loved
but i love to be liked

out on the wind
is that rustling still
i get up and go
of my own good free will
out on that lake
is a man walking free
i wish she was mine
and i wish he was me
Annie’s eyes grew heavy with a nostalgia, she could almost feel the exact same way as her father felt writing that. Not that she felt that she was close to his own emotions, but she knew, somehow, exactly what he was thinking, almost as if remembering writing the thing herself. Then she turned to the last page to find a poem titled Annie.


In your eyes I watch a little memory of me
Come blooming out to animate all the pictures that I’ve seen
In my eyes you laugh and wrap your fingers ‘round my wedding ring
Before you I never noticed that the crickets sound is “sing�

I see you for the hindrance that you’ll put on my life
I feel you when you cry and I’m a hundred miles away
I know who you’ll become and wish I would have tried
A little harder not to push you into being who I’d wanted you to be

But you’re still only nothing, no number to your age
Just a sleeping mass of mixed up between your mother and me
And how she cries because you’ve left her for the world
She had you all inside and to herself now she has to share her little girl

I’m sorry if I look sad when you’re old enough to know what that means
But I’m giving up myself to provide you with the best that you can be
And someday when you read this, through the time and faded lead
Know the way I felt is never easily captured by the way it was said

And as I write this final page of fortune teller poetry
Like a blind man looking for a longer cane in hopes of finding prophecy
I sit here, perched and lanky, in our backyard Maple tree
Drunk on teetering along the edge of social heresy

Annie fell asleep just as the final consonant crawled into her head, wrapped in the big arms of the Maple and never safer than fifteen feet above the ground, perched like a bird with no reason to fear the sensation we as people call falling but the birds only know as flying.

The sun did its zenith dance and looked as far westward as it could from over that old dusty white house, bleaching its sides in an effort to fight the accumulating grime that Mother Earth loves to spread so thick and often. It was hours into its retreat before any awoke, her eyes practically snapping from the crusties that had accumulated in the corners of them.

In the haze of the moment she forgot to be startled by her position, and though she couldn’t put her finger on it, something was different. Subtly and drastically different.

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