What’s Left Beneath

The toast was burnt; the things said, and unsaid – not one slice could be scraped off and buttered back to salvation. I walked away, out into the trees which tangled in a careless, senseless array. They rustled in the wind, an angry rush of empty sounds, reaching towards the light, jockeying for the best position. Single-minded survival.

Unseen, though, the roots are silent and steady, words unspoken, there is no reason for these tangles to explain their existence, and without them there is no reason for the trunks to reach. Without them, there is no trunk, no branches, no leaves.

I watch through the window as you scrape the toast and try to remove its charred surface, but it is hopeless. It is so black. There are no roots to hold us, we started from the top and tried to work our way down. There is nothing left here but the phantom sounds of treetops in the wind, and the last slice of bread is gone.

Short story author Tapanga Koe has published works in anthologies such as They Have to Take You In (edited by Ursula Pflug, Hidden Brook Press, 2014) and That Not Forgotten (edited by Bruce Kauffman, Hidden Brook Press, 2012). She lives in rural Ontario, Canada.

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