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"Blighted" by Melanie Maggard

We’re digging up weeds in the garden. Skinny stalks with curly white roots rain dirt onto parched earth as we pluck and pull. We’ve been at it for days and they keep popping up, more unafraid than us. Dandelions scatter as we unearth rocks from their homes but we’re scavengers, rooting for what might exist beneath the mess you left behind. We’re convinced we’ll find you there, in dirty overalls nursing a tarnished pocket watch, sticky from melting cherry cough drops and pomade, even though we saw you planted on a hill three miles from here, covered with fake flowers and turfgrass and a marble marker. There’s a rustling from the woods beyond the corner of the garden so we stop, turn our heads to find a raccoon watching us. We stare, squatting still in the tossed earth, while he stands on his back legs, paws raised in hallelujah and welcome, as if he wants us to go to him, hug him, take him home with us. All we can think about is how you gave up, before we were awake, before we realized we needed to say goodbye. We think how this raccoon could be you, a resurrection to help your daughters understand they’ll be just fine, eventually. But like the rascal you are, he disappears into the darkness of the brush before we have the chance, that last chance, to tell him he can’t leave us with tears and hope and everything unsown staining our skin.

Melanie Maggard is a flash and poetic prose writer who loves dribbles and drabbles. She has published in Cotton Xenomorph, The Dribble Drabble Review, X-R-A-Y Magazine, Five Minute Lit, and others. She can be found online at and @WriterMMaggard.

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