#217 Morning Glory

by Hillary Marie Miller

Nana said morning glories closed at night because they were keeping secrets.

By day, the flowers would learn all sorts of things, catching whispered words and unspoken thoughts like satellite dishes. When night came the flowers would curl up and lock the secrets away.

That house had white fence all the way around the front yard, all of it covered in morning glories. Once her mother caught her whispering to the flowers and she had slapped Hanna. Her ring bit into Hanna’s cheek, each tiny garnet drawing a tiny drop of blood.

“She’s just a child,” Nana said.

“She knows nothing of secrets,” Mother said.


The girls at school said Hanna’s daddy wasn’t around because he’d been sent to jail about nine months before she was born. They snickered as they said this. Hanna did not know why.


A few days later Hanna found her mother dousing the fence with gasoline. She tried to tug the red can away but her mother pushed her back until Nana came outside and carried her back to the house. It was late afternoon and the flowers were just closing.

Nana held her on the porch and Hanna screamed her throat raw watching the flames race along the fence posts like an electric signal along a wire. Finally she broke free and ran to the railing and sobbed, "Kill the flowers but you can’t kill the secrets!"

Mother turned her eyes toward Hanna. “No,” she said. “I can’t.”

The whole fence burned.


Dino Parenti said...

What a wonderful use of metaphor for all her supressed anger.

Jodi said...

Beautifully written with vivid details.

Anonymous said...

Evocative, accessible and beautifully written. Good luck!