"... and he did eat." The reason your key isn’t working, the reason you’re reading this note, is because you could have eaten from any of the trees in my garden—the red apples, the florea figs, the sweet cherries—but instead, you set your eyes on, raised your hand to take, the one thing I labored six long years to grow. Carefully. Fearfully. So paranoid, there were days I wouldn’t even look at the tree while watering lest I’d fall victim to the cardinal sin of impatience. But once they were ripe—once I plucked and placed them in the icebox—I left to buy shelled almonds, and your favorite bottle of brandy. Spent the hours of travel imagining the knowledge of dark purple flesh. The firm, cold sweetness beneath skin. You watched me leave. Knew I wasn’t saving them for breakfast, but for us. But as always, you couldn’t help yourself. Again ignored the louder voice in your head, the angel on your left shoulder saying, “it won’t kill anyone.” And I returned to the emptiness and your note. I placed the brandy in the icebox beside the almonds. So this is just to say, this time, I will not forgive you. Your things are scattered across the eastern lawn. I was kind, placed your prized snakeskin boots in a bag, and hung them on the tree beside your best wool suit. The brandy and almonds are in its pockets. Those are yours to keep. I hope you will find them delicious.
Beeper Peddle is a writer and healer living on the East Coast. She lives with her partner and their beloved soul puppy. Beeper writes about sorrows, lies, and deep loves. When you read her work, you will dip down into her heart and end up in all manner of body parts. Should you find yourself reflected in these words, it is merely coincidence; however, it does not surprise her you share the same heart. Find her at bethpeddle.com and @beeperpeddle on Twitter and Instagram
Matthew E. Henry (MEH) is the author of the Colored page (Sundress Publications, 2022), Teaching While Black (Main Street Rag, 2020), and Dust & Ashes (Californios Press, 2020). MEH’s poetry and prose appear in Barren Magazine, The Florida Review, Massachusetts Review, New York Quarterly, Ploughshares, Poetry East, Shenandoah, and Zone 3. MEH is an educator who received his MFA yet continued to spend money he didn’t have completing an MA in theology and a PhD in education.