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by Jason Jackson

She liked to sing

to the tree in the garden, walking round and round, trailing her small hand against the bark.

She liked to look up

in autumn as everything turned in its own time from green to yellow to red to brown.

She liked to watch

as the leaves spiralled to the bare, cold ground, lying amongst the grass like rags of old clothes.

She liked to imagine

the breeze lifting the leaves as evening became night, spinning them off on strange trajectories all around the village.

She liked to follow

the leaves on their journeys, floating with them as they sought fissures in the fixtures and fittings of each house around the village, slipping quietly inside.

She liked to float

with the leaves above the faces of the sleeping boys who’d been mean, the ones who said she smelt of dust, the ones who threw matchsticks, the ones who laughed.

She liked to hear

the sound as the wet, cold leaves drifted down over faces, sucking themselves into position over mouths and noses and eyes.

She liked to see

the bodies in the bedsheets buck and spin like desperate, tethered ghosts.

She liked to climb

the bare tree in winter, to sit amongst its branches, to rub her fingers over tiny nodes where the old leaves had fallen, where new ones would grow.

Jason Jackson’s prize-winning fiction has been widely published online and in print. In 2019 his stories appeared in The Nottingham Review, New Flash Fiction Review and Cranked Anvil. Jason’s prose/photography hybrid piece The Unit is published through A3 Press.