Opening the door, Belle wonders where it has gone.

The brisk air and bare maple branches, stark against the sky, greet her. Dry leaves dash across the lawn as if in a frenzied ballet. The sun shines but its warmth, an illusion.

Next to the house, a solitary sunflower blooms though its stalk bends under the weight of one heavy blossom.

Shuddering, she pulls her shawl close and, with bird seed in hand, ventures out. She is certain now that it is truly gone. For now.

Resigned, Belle says hello to Fall.

Story by Pamela Tyree Griffin
Photo by Michelle Dennis

"His Strawberry Day"

Before he died
he asked for a bowl of strawberries.

He knew he should not have them
But he said
"What the heck -
Death is coming no matter what
I eat."

So I went down by the woods
at the edge of our property -
just where the sun
touches the fallen pine cones and
the soft breezes bend the tall grasses before dusk.

No bucket - so in
my crisp, white cotton apron
I carried as many strawberries
as I could pick.

My hands were stained red-
my mouth too.
I ate almost as many as I carried.
I returned to the house,
dumped them unceremoniously into the
kitchen sink to wash.

He said,
"Did you get 'em?"

In response, I brought him a
large bowl filled to the overflowing.

And so before he died,
we ate those strawberries,
slowly through one silent hour.

When months later, he was gone-
I thought-

Everybody should have a
strawberry day before they must
leave this world.

By Pamela Tyree Griffin
Previously Published by the lovely O Sweet Flowery Roses

"Serial Killer"

It was fine when you
dealt with the mice.

Such finesse!

I appreciated your work.
Truly I did.

But things have changed.

The neighbors have started to complain.
They are not amenable to dead squirrels
plastered on their macadem driveways.

They are certainly not open even
to the occasional possum entrail
displayed on their tidy patios.

I try to pretend I have no idea
where these things come from.

I am scared to admit
my complicity in your

I should never
have brought you home...

I had a choice.

The world is
full of


less murderous.

"By Dawn's Early Light"

They arrive.

Neatly brass buttoned

and spit shined,
they stand illuminated

the bare bulbed
front porch light.

Shoulder to shoulder,
in noble contemplation

and with solemn dignity
they knock.

Now comes the whispered delivery

of their utterance

most sorrowful.


Story by Pamela Tyree Griffin
Photo by H. Assaf

(For many, no matter what else may follow this moment - it is this moment and the memory of the words alone - that will remain...)


The succulents
fill the bowl to

then begins
the inevitable -
sweetly, darkly.

Beneath it all-
beneath the slow ripening,
and fading yellow
the white,
children of