• Marías at Sampaguitas

Flash Fiction by Emily Deibler

Rebirth in Yellow

Have you ever watched how, in early September, the leaves turn yellow? I used to think it was an early autumn, a gift. But a friend told me when the heat gets to be too much, trees spare themselves by withholding their chlorophyll and letting their leaves die.

Everything flows back to the center.

I hold my grandma’s colostomy bag as tightly as I hold my professors’ and friends’ disappointment. April really is the cruelest month, it tastes like mucus and a stale hospital pie. And I sleep awake, nightmares vivid, IBS acting up, a failure. A deadline is a deadline.

Either way, I’m covered in shit.

Meanwhile, I hold my grandma’s life in my hands, a fragile little sparrow with bones no bigger

than IV needles, windchimes clicking against my cheekbone. Have you ever held anything so small yet vast? One person cannot bear this weight, no marigolds for the winter child, only a heart.

(I am scared that, without the leaves for others to pluck and step on, I’m only sap.)

And I sleep awake, nightmares vivid, IBS acting up, a failure.

But I have learned that now I will let all these leaves fall to the ground, damn them, I will let my blood flow back to its center, let the shit litter the ground, go on, step on that. To live, I must let my gold crinkle into the black.

A native of North Georgia, Emily Deibler is a published poet and author. Her short story “Deer in December” was published in TL;DR Press’ Halloween 2018 Horror collection, NOPE. She has also published her poems “Turkey Hunting,” “Patty,” “Samantha,” and “Daughters of the Sun.” Her debut novel, Dove Keeper, came out in October 2018. She can be found on Twitter at @emilydeibler. She is a regular contributor to Marías at Sampaguitas.

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