This time, you were a burgeoning peony at the edge of a small cottage garden, stems ladened with clusters of dark fuchsia petals. Your scent perfumed the afternoon air, enveloping me as I walked my solitary way home. I did not want to wait for you.
I crept back towards the village that night, with the knife I’d plunged into your chest two human lives ago, when I discovered you at the Inn with another woman. The blade was blunt with age and use and it shredded your stem as I tried to take a cutting of you for myself. The worn handle slipped in my palms and its edge sliced into my thumb. Your heady fragrance mingled with the rust smell of the wound made me light-headed, as if I were fighting against the sweep of a thousand chaotic feathers. I managed to fold a piece of you in the blood-speckled hem of my blouse and went home to transplant you in my garden.
You shriveled up and died during the night. Peonies, I learned, could not be propagated by cuttings. (Continue Reading…)