Page 66 - HEF Pen & Ink 2023
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Nature or Death
By Rachel Drake
The great aspen had seen the five stages of grief over, and over, and over again. She had seen tears. Of course. Enough
tears to water her roots for years. but she had also seen those that screamed their sadness out. Asking their love why they couldn’t stay for them. Dropping to their knees in front of a headstone long after their voice was gone. Some had leaned against her trunk asking whatever god might answer to bring them back. To take them instead.She had seen parents visit their children, lovers meet their past loves, children visiting their siblings. Smiling wistfully at the granite, and telling their beloved of new news. And even though she had viewed those things she had never once felt those emotions. For what was there for her to mourn? Perhaps she could not grieve because she had never loved. She mulled this over, but even- tually she decided that it was fine with her. No one had ever loved her, so when her roots tore up, she would go with no scream, no whimper because no one would hear it.
Pretty Bird By Lily Carlson

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