All The Old Days – Alanna Donaldson

Your flowers are dead so I pull them up, the rotten leaves and dusty roots. They give themselves up, give up their little white bulbs, and I pluck them out of the earth. I see life down there, a grey spider crawling slowly, a crop of shiny white eggs, a round brown slug like a jelly sweet, rolled on its back. 

When the plants lie like a beast on your lawn, I sit in the doorway and watch the sun sink. Beneath my nails are little dirt moons and there’s sweat in the dirt on my face. Up on the hill, clean and clear above the trees, stands the pylon. Brittle old frame, dull metal, gunmetal, a cowboy in a doorway. As a child I used to ride up there, lie my bike in the grass and stand in its shadow, hear the wind in the wires, shrill sounds of space. Now the evening sun lights it up, climbs on its shoulders and disappears.

It rains all night, as though something is forgotten and overflows. It chimes in the stone and pours and pools in the gutters, the low wet sounds of a wishing well. It rolls off the hill and under the house and the walls creak like a boat. I lie in my old bed and am wide as a landscape, then small and thin as a twig. I grow and shrink in this way, like the sea, in this old boat, this old bed, until I fall asleep.

I remember the rose bush and the perfume that we made, thin brown juice that smelt of nothing, soft petals bruised in a jar. I remember the cherry tree with a fat blossom bed where we used to lie, look up at blue sky and pink blossom hanging down. In each flower was a little green eye and the eyes swung together in the breeze. When I sat up, petals stuck to my arms like eyelids and you brushed them away, those cool little lids, with your warm hands.

In the morning I see a red pheasant in the red sunrise and follow it up the hill. The trees watch from the perimeter, bend towards one another, murmur together. I stand below the pylon and feel the blood that streams in me, curls like wings in my back. The wind is my breath and the grass is my hair and the sun is my skin. I remember all the old days, rolling back below me, and one day in particular, when the pylon seemed to fall against the moving clouds, bright white clouds whose shadows flew like birds down the hill, and you were standing at the gate, waving and calling me home. 


ALANNA DONALDSON works in publishing and lives in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by stories. Now and again she catches one and writes it down. She can be found on Twitter at @alannamadeleine.

Image via Pixabay 

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