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The Garden Lights Itself on Fire

By Lee Anderson

The garden lights itself on fire and the first thing I smell through the kitchen window is burnt tomatoes, zucchini, basil, like a dinner party for inviting no one but ex-lovers to, and I am stuck gripping the ceramic edge of the counter while my husband rushes out, stamping on blades of fire, billowing his shirt like he can produce a big enough gust of air to simply blow it away, wondering why we don’t have a garden hose or anything at the ready for emergencies like this—like what if it were planned and this implosive bonfire were something where we could throw the past or present or just anything we felt we could no longer hold close into the flame—and the white paint on the scalloped cabinetry overhead begins to crinkle and sizzle, melting, dripping on my forehead like Ash Wednesday; I know it’s over, it’s all over, peppers and squash consumed by something we can’t predict or even stop, when he looks at me through the smoky window, eyes pleading, and I can't even look back at him when my ring slips off my left hand and into the sink basin, circling and circling and circling the drain.

Lee Anderson is a trans writer with roots in the Pacific North-, Mid-, and Southwest, landing in Chicago with an MFA from Northern Arizona University; their writing can be found in Salt Hill Journal, The Rumpus, and Gertrude, among others.

Art by Jay Baker, an artist from Colorado living in Oregon, by way of New Mexico; he records music as Tom Foe.


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