The Bone Orchard


In the orchard of lost keys, all the dead sisters speak together or not at all. Their arms impossible trees. Their arms careful rows of bruises. The dead sisters miss us, but not much. More, they miss blankets. They miss eating fallen apples still sun-warm, miss drinking away their silver. They do not miss doing paperwork, but who would? They miss signing their names: that finality. They sit in a rusted truck with roots growing through the ceiling, pass notes back and forth, notes they sign by kissing. They knit sweaters of tangled mattress springs to keep the tree-roots warm, play the gutted refrigerator like a piano with their mouths. Winters, they make necklaces from river-ice to hang from any limb lithe enough to hold them, tree or girl. Mostly, they miss the ambulance before the ambulance came for them: the sound pulling like a key stretched to music. Like the inverse of an ice cream truck. Like something not final, not just yet.

Nina Puro’s work is forthcoming or recently appeared in cream city review, Indiana Review, Harpur Palate, Jellyfish, Pleiades, Third Coast, and other publications. The recipient of an MFA from Syracuse University, she lives in Brooklyn, works in publishing, and is bad at thinking of clever third-person quips to put in places like this.

In the orchard of lost keys, all the dead sisters speak together...