In an abandoned house, a tree grows. It's small, a seedling really. To see it, you'd have to get your shoes muddy, step through tall weeds, close enough to peer through the broken window, past the burned furniture. Inside, the rotten floor would be soft under your feet. It might crack. You might fall. But there—in the corner where the kitchen was—is a single flower. Yellow. Sunlight reaches for it through the wasted roof, reaches for the tree, too. Come, kneel. Whisper something lovely to the tree, the flower. Imagine cradling them, offering them to someone you wished you could have loved enough. Resist touching. It is cold. You shiver and shove your hands in your pockets. You stand to go, think of the man who lit the fire. Was he wet? Hungry? Was he cooking? Had he grown careless after other fires? Look back. The tree is green; one leaf has a fleck of fall's yellow. It will survive this season, another. It will grow. Tell the golden flower that you hope the house falls, the roof crumbles, and the walls give up.



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