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The Garden

Poet: Selma Carvalho

Who knows what gardeners bring to the table. One stole my shovel and the other pocketed the advance. Yet the garden knows nothing about that. I stand by the window and watch it battle wind and rain and the smallest shrubs stand tall, the azaleas and camelias share soil like siblings, the rhododendrons and roses survive phantoms of frost.

That year, the garden became our sanctuary as you crumbled and collapsed. I can’t do this anymore, you pleaded. What option do you have? I asked. I knew the option you had, the option you were mulling in your head. You didn’t say it out loud. It lurked in the penumbra, it grew wings with each passing day, it grew teeth, it grew scales, it grew and grew, until all I saw was its hulking presence hiding behind the hydrangeas, the hutch, and the trees grew tall, the sky expanded to take in all the unhappiness spilling from you.

Now, I watch days not in sequence but torn and dismembered, jig-sawed and assembled through the window, the apple trees lining the garden wall, the woodshed crouched small, it is the last of summer, the sky still a bright blue, our life together not yet a memory.

Selma Carvalho is the author of two novels, Sisterhood of Swans and Notes on a Marriage, both published by Speaking Tiger, India. She has been listed in over 40 literary competitions including the London Short Story Prize, Brighton, Hastings Festival, Fish, Bath, SI Leeds,  New Asian Writing, Dinesh Allirajah, Mslexia Novella, Plaza First Chapters, and is the winner of the Leicester Writes Prize 2018. She lives in London.

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