Central Florida, March

Grandma gets lost in Publix, forgets about the raisins for her Irish soda bread. Grandpa kills us on the way to dinner, twice. A new word: marcescent. As in, withering but not falling. Like the leaves of these trees that whisper and loom, some people don’t give up. Is there a word for leaves that fall early? A snakebird perches on the shore of Lake Adair, offers wings to the sun, and waits for buoyancy. Unlike a duck, it swims almost completely submerged, soft down absorbing water until the bird grows cold, wet and heavy and wanders ashore. In the snakebirds’ quest for fish, does the floor of this lake grow littered with bodies?

Later: five ladies hung with silk scarves set their canvases before an oak draped in Spanish moss. 345 feet above sea level, Britton Hill is the nation’s lowest high point.


This story first appeared in Tigertail, a Florida Anthology.