Inside This Standing Stone

By Amy B. Moreno

They’re talking on the bench beside me; three crows trussed up in white tunics, either not caring or not remembering that I understand everything they say. Although I cannot share it with another soul, their chatter rattles around inside my head; bright red words like scattered seeds to peck at.

They’ve sat me in the garden again, with the other standing stones, arranged around the central lawn, framed in gradient green, and occupied with our greying. Moss creeps up our limbs, tracking the varicose veins. The murmurs of branches with leaves like pointed hands call out, pleading palms upturned. The bulbs hibernate, trapping bursts of colour inside their cupped hands.

My right eye itches. I blink away the scratch. But I can’t blink away my numbed toes or the hot steel shooting up each finger. I turn my focus on the warmth from the sun on my thinning skin.

The pinches and pains seem to have smothered what was once inside. If this stone cracks open, the memories will come jumbling out, unravelled like old knitting; earth spilling between my fingers. I notice they’ve planted some roses in a shady spot. They won’t bloom – what a waste.

Now the crows have brought some bubbles and they blow them for us with their snappy beaks. The squinting jewels float across the sky, trailing petals and crests of waves. I feel a tickle-pop on the back of my hand; a whisper from the days of bubble baths and secret kisses; disjointed pieces of a sea glass mosaic; a seaside garden landscape.

The sun reaches down to shadows of gloves, packets of seeds twittering like sparrows in my pocket.  Of guiding little hands, folded into mine. A triumphant finger with dimpled knuckles pushing a nasturtium seed into the ground. They like the full sun. The waiting was a pleasure back then.

And now the bubbles and blues blotch the green and I’m sat in a suffocating glasshouse, crowded by birds of paradise and sea holly and thalictrum and rosemary. All these little cuttings are too much. I push down and down until I’m buried deep inside my shell, twisted until it spirals.

The seconds slide into days, the leaves change colour, faces come and go, and I hear my heart thud on relentlessly; in even footsteps along the garden path.

Amy B. Moreno writes poetry and prose for both adult and child readers. She has recently been published by The Glasgow Women’s Library blog, The Scottish Book Trust, The Ogilvie Review, and Seahorse Publisher, plus other literary websites and blogs.  She is currently based on the eastern coast of Scotland.

You can connect with her on Twitter: @Amy_B_Moreno