The last time I wanted to die I bleached my hair and slit my wrists and ended up doing nothing but crosswords in the sterile boxcar of a hospital room. When I got home it was already November so I buried my feet in the soil and thought of worms until I was rooted. Did you know that they found toes in the holes in the ground where ancient trees used to be? My skin turned to bark and I sprouted branches that sprouted leaves that fell like they were falling in love with you.
Do you know that I’m in love with you? From the tip of my southernmost branch I can see your yellow-tiled bathroom. Every day after school you come home and take a bath. You wiggle your banged up toes, you convince yourself that the tub is an ocean- I would love you with the eruptions of a hundred underwater volcanoes. From the center of my trunk I can see the cardboard box bedroom, where sometimes you feel up to fucking yourself. We both know what it’s like to feel more hobo than princess – more thief than soldier. *** Today was humid and yellow. I watched you return from school: legs swinging like grandfather clocks, sleep or death or something soft tugging at your eyelids.
“Hard day?” I would ask, if I was still a girl like you.
But I’m not a girl I’m a tree and trees can’t talk.
That night you slept soundly and woke with dreams slipping down your skinny body like earthworms. You sat down on the toilet and it just came right out like a normal poop except it was a daisy. It didn’t smell like anything at all so you picked it up out of the toilet bowel and taped it the wall above your mattress.
Saturday morning with the house to yourself and I can tell from the anger in your eyes that something’s off: you’re knocking over furniture and scratching at the blinds like a stray dog. You’ve forgotten the toilet and how to use it: your bedroom floor is covered in daisies. I’ve never seen anyone smile as wide as you in that moment. But when your mother came home she swept up the flowers and locked you in your room.
You spent the next three days calling for help and making daisy chains. You flung yourself against the door
but it didn’t budge. You didn’t eat but the flowers kept coming. In fact, it seemed as though you shat more and more each day.
The season clicked from fall to winter. Your friends came with axes and broke down the door. You gave them each a daisy and told them to go away.
Spring came. I blossomed.
“You did a really great job blossoming, tree.” You said with your forehead pressed against the window.
You punched the window, bloodying your brilliant fists, pooped out a flower, and tied the stem around one of my thinner branches. I
felt it build up in my stomach like a fart but that’s not what it was at all.
“Why don’t you come outside?” It was a voice that tasted like grass and beer and it came from me.
“No.” You didn’t even seem surprised that I had a voice. You probably knew all along.
Your mother came home from work in a fit of rage: the bulls-eye of her veins pulsing.
“Georgia! What are you doing on the floor? Where did all these flowers come from? Are you trying to drive me crazy?” Loud noises have a way of making you shriek.
You shrieked and your mother’s fist felt warm in the pit of your stomach. On the floor everything seemed fuzzier and better. You pretended that you were in a hole, naked like Joseph but remembering the feel of your beautiful coat on your shoulders like a soldier’s amputated limb.
“Christ, this room needs cleaning.” Your mother grumbles and sweeps the broken glass and daisies into your hole.
You grasped a shard of broken glass in your stubby little fingers, “My skin will be my most beautiful coat”, you said to yourself and decorated your flesh with raspberry lines. Bleeding, everything seemed fuzzier and better.
“I think it’s time I go outside.” And you made a hundred more daisies that day. You knotted them together until you had a bridge. It felt good to create, maybe you are an artist.
“Hey, tree” your voice gave me chills like an electric chair, “I think it’s time I go outside.”
“Hell, yeah!” My voice still worked, in fact, it sounded stronger than ever.
You threw out your bridge and climbed out the window. Your warm holy thighs straddled my branch.
“Can I stay here awhile?”
So you stayed among my blossoms for a couple days and kept on shitting daisies. You tied them all around my branches as if you were taping tests to a refrigerator. I was proud of you.
One morning your mom came into your room to check on you. You were not there. She went to the window and saw you hanging from me.
“Georgia!” She said your name like a curse. You didn’t answer. You didn’t shriek.
“Georgia.” This time she was an executioner calling you to a guillotine. We can both see the axe in her hands.
“Don’t worry” you whispered to my bark, “Everyone knows that if a tree falls and no one hears then it doesn’t exist. Existing is exhausting and overrated, so we must not make a sound.”
I didn’t make a sound as your mother chopped me down. We both fell to our deaths like we were falling in love with each other.
Annie Loucka, Age 16, Grade 11, Bard High School Early College, Silver Key