Girl on a Swing

The trees bleed green for the girl on the swing. It’s a picture perfect scene—a clear creek rolling through, a breeze riding the back of the sun. Her bare feet stick out from the layered skirt and drag through the grass as her dark hair flows behind her. Then you see how it really is a picture. You pick up the horizon and watch the edges curl in your hand. The color runs and drys in splotches. The paper flakes specks of paint. The light has faded the skin, leaving an empty face. Dust covers the sky. Held at an angle, the trees are over-powering, closing in. Soon grass and wood and water will rise up, and the girl will swing on, motionless. The painting is old, very old. Any living thing at the point of conception has passed into darkness. You hastily drop the picture, but it is too late. A coldness lingers, a chilly breath. You are mortal, too. On the floor, the girl keeps swinging. You watch her swing; you watch her fade. Already you are stained paper, waiting to dry and wrinkle.


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