Monday, August 31, 2009


He wished her a good night’s sleep and left to return to his quarters. In the garden a mist skimmed the ground. He stopped at a magnolia tree where she hung a pot of dawn orchid on a branch. The tree was only her height the day she was inducted into the imperial palace, and now it stood like a giant umbrella. White petals littered the ground at its base.
From her chamber only a stone’s throw away drifted the sound of piano. Listening, he marveled at the touch of her fingers, marveled at the Heaven’s whim to have robbed her of her own faculties, and yet left in her a sense for the music. Far in the corners of the garden foxfire glowed on deadwood, and the sound of the piano trickled in the stillness that smelled rain. It was a melody he’d never heard before, and every note was clear, strung together like a garland of sorrow tossed out there in the blackness of the night. She was going home.  What would become of her in this deranged state?
Under the magnolia he stood, leaning his head on a branch around which was tied a rope that hung a pot of dawn orchid. Moss burned a phosphorescent blue on the tree trunk, and the magnolia blossoms became so thick in his throat he had to close his eyes, breathe shallow.
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