The Orchard, or, The Smaller of Two Songs

Kristina Marie Darling

I swore the moon that night was malevolent, hovering again above the orange trees with its unseemly glow, all because I'd forgotten the mottled notes of Pelléas and Mélisande. But wouldn't the sky still threaten if I sang, danced, hummed? Since the last aria faded, its singer resigned as a beetle with folded wings, I've felt the weight of the clouds on my bony chest. And my gluttonous heart holds nothing but a strange bird, coo-cooing into the pale blue night.. At that, each leaf in the orchard shudders, every branch seems to splinter.

Kristina Marie Darling is a graduate student at Washington University. She is the author of eight chapbooks of poetry and prose, including Fevers and Clocks (March Street Press, 2006) and The Traffic in Women (Dancing Girl Press, 2006). Her writing appears in The Boston Review, The Colorado Review, New Letters, The Literary Review, and other journals. Recent awards include residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and the Centrum Foundation.