Skeletons aren’t in my closet. They’re buried in my backyard. Three to be precise. By the oak tree I used to swing on as a child, scraping my knees on malicious patches of dirt as I tumbled off it. Those skid marks and scars faded with time just as rotting flesh breaks down gradually.
When it drizzles on an austere autumn day, it’s not the fresh earthy smell as mud collects the rain that forces its way into my nostrils. It’s the stench of death. A mixture of foul fumes and rotten eggs. Eyeballs ‘puddling’ out of the skull socket and oozing into the soil. With a dash of fallen eyelashes. An eerie, unique fertilizer made as a result.
The dandelions that sprouted out from the ground sucked it up like a newborn child with milk. I pictured the remains intermingled with the root nerves, resistant at first, detecting that it had been tainted. But they slurped it up anyway. After all, poisoned sustenance is better than nothing at all.
The water, compressed amongst particles of the earth, would taste of purpled blood and remnants of intestines from an open cavity wound. A few stray hairs dipped in the mess. Never bend down to smell the fresh-cut lawn. Let’s just say that it’s an acquired scent.
Besides, if you bend down so low, I’m afraid you’ll be close enough to see what I see when I survey the yard from my back door.
The mustard dandelion petals…with coloured veins creeping underneath, whispers of red like clotted arteries in a tired heart. Sometimes, I thought they pulsed like they do in humans. Then I push the thought out of my head.
But I can never forget that they are out there.
The dandelions served as living reminders. The only thing that reminded me of them.
The skellies, my mother says.
Well… used to say.