by Catherine J.S. Lee
From beyond the ghostly birches with foxgloves and lilies-of-the-valley nodding at their feet comes the crisp taffeta rustle of the incoming tide. Among the dark, mysterious foliage, white stars of night-blooming flowers glimmer in the cold light of the gibbous moon. The air is warm on bare skin, sweet with the fragrance of moonflowers and nicotiana, tangy with salt. How many times did I find you here, standing in the white gazebo, looking out to sea? But now you observe a different landscape, a barren sea of sand, and in that country not your own where you serve and wait, the dangers are no longer only the dangers of love. And in this garden we together built from barren soil, I, too, wait, knowing that here, all that fades and dies will return in spring, but that there in the desert where little blooms, there are no such guarantees.
Catherine J.S. Lee lives, teaches, gardens, and writes haiku and fiction on an island on the coast of Maine near Canada. She is currently seeking a publisher for her short-story collection, Gone Like Sea Smoke: Stories From the Gulf of Maine. Her fiction has appeared this year in juked, Cezanne's Carrot, Amarillo Bay, Shattercolors Literary Review, SNReview, Long Story Short, and The Rose & Thorn, and is forthcoming in The Binnacle, Slow Trains, and Poor Mojo's Almanac(k).