On day one, I told you my name but you called me Marie. I gave you three flowers, knowing
you to understand—that lily meant acceptance, the aster loyalty, the freesia that kindnesses
must be returned. Day two we were much older and sliced vegetables. I rinsed the lot in a plastic
green colander in our sink, you lined them up on the mandoline. I mentioned it was good we had
planted early, and out of respect you took me at my word. On day three the junipers were
blanched almost blue by early shade and the soil was cold and rocky and I gifted you a sharp
sprig. It was a rendering of your hands. The fourth day you turned out all the sheets and the
house was clean and smelled of pine. Day five and I brought my largest tablecloth so all the
guests would set down in a ring at our sides. You carefully spread out strawberry jam on a
cream cracker and eyed each member of the crowd. The sixth day I twirled for you and you said
a woman couldn't wear a dress so bright and be so vulnerable. Day seven and we took a canoe
out to the middle of a still lake. Day eight I learned it was the softness of light around the trees
that you desired.

* * *

Day two I had confided you were my favorite so on day four I left and on day six purple thistle
was blooming up from the ground.

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