“Fairfax, South Carolina”
Magnolia cones lie, red berries crushed against sidewalk, buried in overgrown lawn. The petals, long ago bruised and wilting, have blown into suburban gutters. He tries to make it up once a month to mow; air out the house; remember.
Fifteen years and by now he starts to feel nothing except a musky heaviness. Mildew has seeped into the cabinets and wrap-around polyester couch. He sees only the hospital bed in the living room, instead of the swivel armchairs he used to play in.
Looking out to the yard, ghosts of daughters run—swinging along tree branches, riding bikes up the block. He will find them at home, grown and smelling of flowers.