The Last Signs of Fall

Contributor: Kristina England

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A hummingbird makes its way into the backyard, hovers at its feeder, sipping at nectar.

Charlie sits in the grass, marvels at its balance, something he lost months ago. His 18-month-old tot, Jo-Jo, chortles at the creature as it feeds. He reaches down, tugging at his father, desperate to get a better view.

Charlie calls out to his wife, who stands at the other side of the yard. She does not hear him, too wrapped up in planning, her voice low, impossible to hear.

He knows the arrangements she is making. They discussed it all last night after he told her it was time, the tugs on his body insisting they prepare.

Charlie's eyes wander to the IV in his arm, the pole suspended above him. He sighed, makes one last effort for his son, rising half way from the ground until his arms say "no more."

Jo-Jo's excitement fades. He watches the little guy toddle away, reaching into the air for something neither of them can touch, the boy's chatter drifting away in the autumn breeze.

Then, Charlie relaxes, his body sinking deeper into the ground.

The unexpected crash of his bones back into the earth rattles the hummingbird from its breakfast. He watches as it disappears over the fence.

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Kristina England resides in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her writing is published or forthcoming at Gargoyle, Linguistic Erosion, New Verse News, Poetry24, and other magazines.
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