Kristina Marie Darling
The Orchard, or, The Smaller of Two Songs
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, I’ve felt the weight of the firmament on my bony chest. And my gluttonous heart holds nothing but a strange bird, warbling into the pale blue night. At that, each leaf in the orchard shudders, every branch seems to splinter.
The Forest, or, The Musician Dreams a Change of Seasons
He begins by playing the saddest song he knows, an elegy for each dark red leaf rustling on the trees. And out of it drifts a woman’s voice, ringing like an iron bell into the cold blue night. Crooning as if to postpone a change of seasons with her low madrigal, its muted crescendos, the instrument’s stuttering fugue. Yet when the frost sets in, every note becomes an ode, echoing through parched foliage. Within that music, a wilderness. The forest’s dried canopy heaves and sways.