Persephone’s Tainted Garden
First published in WRITE ON Magazine, Issue 53.
My garden was always my haven. How could it not be, when I spent half my life in a sulphury darkness? I had a villa, marble and gold, fragranced with the scent of the flowers I grew. The view from the door was best. White columns holding up blue sky, leading down to acres of green, fertile land. From there I could almost pretend that I wouldn’t have to go back. My garden was exactly what you would expect of a goddess of spring. Daffodils, Begonia, Queen Anne’s lace. It was beautiful. And it had remained undisturbed for centuries.
That’s why when it first appeared I was confused. Was it an offering? Some highly collectable lawn ornament? Modern art? All the same I treasured it. Any contact with the world was good. I even put it on display, on a marble pedestal that complemented its smooth curves. For almost a month, I revered it. The convex angles that tapered to the neck, the sunlight glinting off neon embossed words: “Sprite”. From the fairies. Then the next piece arrived. Then the next. Then the next. Then the next.
I stopped taking them inside, leaving them where they fell. Soon they buried my flower beds in scattered mounds. But they kept coming, and then the gulls came with them, and the smell. First I wept. Then I shooed. Then I stood in the rain and screamed. But the gulls kept circling in their mistaken quest for food. Soon I couldn’t walk one step outside without wading the nexttwo through the piles of stuff. So I didn’t go outside.
I stayed. Whirling like a wildcat, closing curtains and windows and doors, shutting out the once fresh spring breeze. I huddled in a shadowed corner, pretending it never happened. Ironic, isn’t it that the goddess of spring can no longer enjoy her springtime paradise.