Morning Glories
Lucinda Kempe

At dawn you hobble from the bed where you had holed up for three days and force yourself to go into the garden. The morning glory vines twine round the espaliered arms of your apple and up your climbing rose. The Cortland’s whips you tethered five falls ago. The rose you trained last spring to entwine an iron candelabrum positioned in the yard for style. Some of the glories’ discs are purple and pink, others splashed white and blue.

Your dog waits on the cement—dusty coat, calloused elbows, and long toenails evidence your neglect. On the garden table, her nail nippers lie where you left them.

“Down! Stay!”

Sweet girl, she yields. One foot you place beside her head to shield her vision; one hand holds her paw. Her nails extend their curling parts like Mandarin ladies’ bound feet. Two clips. A wince. She kicks with her hind legs free. Elated, she butt tucks through the bedded fruit trees and squash.

You drop into the chair in the garden and watch her romp. In the morning, you awoke from a trance. In it you were rappelling down a cliff face with a rucksack of stones on your back when a man hollered from the summit.

“Whoa there, traveler!” he yelled. His hair shot out horizontally as if electrified. “Welcome to the outer limits.”

Lucinda Kempe lives in an Arts & Crafts house on Long Island where she exorcises with words.