Questions We Asked for the Girls Turned to Limbs

Do you remember the hands of men? How they pressed into your skin until red blossomed
          across the surface?
                   How their intentions left patterns on your body?

When you fled through fields, through forests, up mountains, up hills, into streams, into lakes
          did you cry out for anyone?
                   Did your voice sound like bells even then?

If you turned into a tree, was it your choice what kind it was? Did you choose on a whim or
          was there a certain logic?
                   Willow because you weeped or pine because of the smell?

Do you remember how fast the ones you loved gave up looking for you? Was it gradual, the way
          they lost hope?
                   Or was it sudden: a violent loss of faith?

When you spent years rooted to the ground, did it remind you of every time you’d been rooted
          in place by fear?
                   Was it a curse more than a saving?

If you could choose would you want to be something other than a tree, other than locked into the
          earth so fiercely?
                   Maybe a lake pebble that a fish might swallow? A feather?

Do you remember how your mother braided your hair, even with hands full of aching? How she
          smoothed the strands so gently?
                   How she always said “You are a lovely one” every time after?

When you knew you were lost, after the escape, the run, the change, was there a moment
          when you almost let go?
                   When you thought how easy it would be?

If you could, what would you do differently? Would you kiss your mother’s hands? Ask
          your father for one more story?
                   Would you beg the gods for some other kind of saving?

Chloe N. Clark

Chloe N. Clark’s work appears in Apex, Flash Fiction Online, Gamut, Hobart, and more. She writes for nerds of a feather and Ploughshares, teaches multimodal composition and creative writing, and can be found online tweeting about cakes, monsters, and basketball @PintsNCupcakes.

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