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Winter Strawberry

Stained with a thick jam the shade of blood.

By Empty Poetry and VersePublished 4 months ago 9 min read

Winter Strawberry

Written By: Akilkuumba K.

Softly the snow fell

gray sky frozen riverside

impaling ice glass.

Blue heartless, heartless

pale blue hue pale complexion

frost in the bloodstream.

A young girl recited haikus to her reflection

in a window, overlooking the storm.

Warmed by the wood stove, her family was fast asleep,

free to be when the others couldn't see her.

So, she waited for times like these,

times she could peel back the layers

uncover the vail, of her soul.

Again, she spoke to the elementals of the night.

The starving and dead

cold frozen embalmed with dread

comatose baby.

Snowflakes fell quietly onto the suburban neighborhood.

blanketing all in a moment of silence. Just as the dark of night did.

The cold and the dark had that much in common.

Both represent an absence of human comfort, acting as portals in which one could escape the human condition or so she thought.

Its sight brought slow roiling tears to her eyes. The hypnotizing cadence of the snow covered everything in sight. Like ash, it was suffocating, yet the aura it radiated could only be described as angelic. Although still incredibly sedating.

Hypnos the demon

in the silent street seeking

souls in whole submit.

Just then a strong breeze rattled the window frame causing the sound of a metallic clash. Her mother grumbled and turned onto her side. If my mother realizes I'm awake she will make me come to bed. Looking at the wooden door with its large rustic latch, she wanted to feel the cold embrace even for a moment.

If my mother does not see me or hear me, she will think I am in bed with her and my other siblings. So, I must go.

Quietly wrapping her torso in the winter coat, and placing her wool knitted hat and gloves, so as to become prepared to enter the tundra.

Focused as an assassin, she unlatched the copper bolt, and drew the silver chain, allowing it carefully to hang freely. Slowly turning the door handle, it clicked and then creaked open.

With only a moment's hesitation, she stepped into the icy hands of the artic patriarch. His likeness was still and tame, not hardly a wind at all. Each intricate snowflake allowing a glimpse of its crystalline frame to be seen in the glow of the crescent moon.

Each step she took seemed to echo; the crunch of compacting snow brought a smile to her pale cracked lips. Her skin was smooth and opaque, and her eyes remained half open, alluding to a double life. One where a portion of her had long since died. Her hair was cut to her shoulders, with bangs that squared her eyebrows.

Usually, she carried a couple of books, one to read and the other to write. But she left them, too much for the covert mission she thought. It's funny how the smart kids are the kids with no friends, are they smart cause they lacked friends, or did they lack friends because they were smart?

The natural gray coloration of her hair caused quite a commotion with the other kids. She had plenty of time to write her passing observations and fantasies.

However, on overcast nights like these, she couldn't help but feel at home. Embodying its essence like the child of a frozen stream. She imagined she was an entity of this forbidden domain.

While wandering through the park, she came to a stone bridge. She almost didn't recognize it, although she had walked this path hundreds of times. The crisp white snow created a liminal space, somewhere between reality and poetry.

Besides the bridge, growing at the brake of the river, was a vibrant emerald, green bush. Steaming from the heat generated by its biotic vigor. As she approached, she smelled a light perfume, sweet and alluring. Its fragrance reminded the girl of her mother.

Several delicate white flowers resembling a rose added to its dramatic charm. Each rose held a red overripe berry within its precious womb.

Her fingers were left stained with a thick jam the shade of blood. Each reflective leaf was sharp, having thorns protruding from its serrated edges. In soft whispers it seemed to hiss with warning yet gave all the alluring incentives to be deeply desired.

Each fruit sprouting from its pure rosette resembled a strawberry. Only softer, with tiny seeds on the flesh, each a striking purple. Reaching her hand into the warm plant biome, she carefully grasped the tressure and plucked. The Berry detached, but not without jostling the bush an emerald, green leaf quickly brushed on her exposed supple wrist. Causing the slightest amount of blood to drip into the endless white powder.

The crimson drops diffused instantly dying the rich white snow like cherry shaved ice. Against the monolithic landscape, the contrast was petrifying. She watched each red bead roll off her skin, as she consumed her prize, it had no pit. Softly melting in her mouth like a sweet thick jam.

Its flavor overpowered all her other senses, imbued with more flavors than her simple pallet could comprehend. A subtly tart raspberry within a rose, a peach lending its sweetness to a plum. At once spicy and also bitter causing her mouth to be numb. The scent still was somehow reminiscent of her aged mother. Who never seemed to rest, endlessly caring for her and her siblings. She wore perfume to hide the scent of desperation and grief that seemed to be embedded in her flesh.

Once the rare treat had completely dissolved, she reached for another, without so much as a second thought. So anxious to enjoy its flesh, she allowed its leaves to strip her, the increasing drops of blood fell with an identical cadence as the continuous snowflakes.

At the point the berry was picked, the rose let out a subtle sigh and a short plume of floral aroma. A glittering cloud of maroon slowly dissipated into the air around her.

As she consumed the deep garnet fruit her mind wandered to the joys of her life, a smile quickly came across her face, as well as a sanguine hue. No longer numb, she imagined the time spent with her first lover. It's never that special, but always so new, imbuing life with the lost sense of connection.

Caught now in her thoughts, she grabbed another. and as she ate, she was pulled even deeper into the frontier of her mind. Seeing a dark room with many doors, the snow still fell but was rich and steaming like warm wine. How surreal and poetic, she thought. As former faces, and visited places washed across the green screen of her conscience. Playing as a silent film, a surrealist masterpiece.

She imagined herself sitting on a beach with black sand, the surf approaching closer. As the deep blue water caressed her supple form. She was gently taken by it. Pulled out to see, drifting into an abyss the dark penetrating aura caused her to faint. Her lifeless body sank. Heavy, bloated with salt water. The strands of her white hair floated catching the refracting moon rays through the tide, as a searchlight might. If there was any chance she could be saved.

Still, her eyes unfurled for one final look at the only world she had ever known. Yet instead of her watery grave, she saw before her a wooden chair, below her was a bright red carpet with a sleek gold border.

Again, she was able to breathe and feel the earth beneath her. However, each step she took towards the chair was exhausting, the carpet sticking to the sole of her bare feet like tar.

She grasped the chair and tried to pull it closer, but it did not budge. Sticking so firmly, as if a pillar holding some invisible but important quality of the room. wrestling herself into the chair, she was finally able to sit. The first comfort of this experience. Never had a simple thing like this been so appreciated, her hands gracing its sturdy build. Slowly she raised her head to witness a black chalkboard, familiar with its academic character.

She was tired of looking at its dark empty face, yet she was fixated. Each eye half opened began to see motion on the board. Wiry, and hardly there like chalk lightly making odd patterns on its surface. Soon the vague scribbles began to clearly resemble thousands of beady eyes. As her irises adjusted, she slowly began to make out the deer each pair of eyes belonged to. She watched them eat over ripe strawberries. Even as each deer's face was skinned, leaving only the exposed red dripping flesh. Bits of the porcelain white skull were exposed, giving the creatures an undead glory.

Reminded of her impending reality by the strawberries within her waking dream, she escaped the trance. Coming to herself, while gazing into the melting blur of a berry. She had several questions but couldn't remember one.

The vibrant colors of the strawberry became even more fantastic when juxtaposed with the pale blueish hue of her fingers crusted in thick clotted blood. Noticing that she was wet, soaked as if she had been kneeling in the river.

Looking down at her knees she sat in a pool of dark hazel blood which had melted and stained the snow around her. Continuing to analyze her skin, she removed the few layers she wore, now obsessed with each mark left on her body, as well as its ghostly blue green pigment.

In a flash of light, the image of her mother darted through her mind's eye. The burden she endured to keep her children safe. I better get back home, she thought. Immediately she began running, following her deep footprints in the snow back home. Stepping within the impressions she already made. She moved quickly, feeling both invigorated and serene

Twisting the bronze handle she entered the pensive environment, her mother and all her siblings fast asleep around the humble home. She took her usual place right in her mother's arms. Immediately her mother's heartbeat slowed. Subconsciously aware of her missing child, she now felt at peace.

That morning the sun rose on grief. The door precariously unlocked, the hanging silver chain now an omen. The young girl missing along with all her winter clothes. She was found by a couple of school-aged children down by the bridge which crossed over the stream.

She was lying in the outline of a snow angel next to the water.

Seeing her daughter's body, she shrieked as if in response to great terror yet there was nothing to fear. She pleaded with death, clinging to his black garments, attempting to bring emotion to his stoic skeleton face. Yet the grim reaper looks for no praise, nor does he work for pleasure. Not emotional about his service or desiring even a day of leisure.

His ghostwriter hands him the script, and his hearse driver collects a spirit. repeating again once the deed is done, always a tragedy when a child happens to be the one.

The poem in her pocket was chiseled into her tombstone, it read,

White snow stained with fear

Only gift a mother's tears

beautiful rose

strawberry of blood

I regret not choosing your love.


About the Creator

Empty Poetry and Verse

Empty and Endless The Heart Of a Poet.

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