Fruiting bodies

After Ana Hatherly’s “Tisanes”

Once upon a time, a thing grew in her, leaving her swollen and sick and cumbersome. The thing parasitized her body and mind, replacing comfort with pain, exchanging an even temperament for leaping and plummeting. It took and took, and she gave and gave.

Once upon a time, a man, a college professor, explored a faraway jungle and returned with a botfly. He left it burrowing around in the soft folds of the skin near his bellybutton. I’m going to be a daddy! And when it fell out without him noticing, he retraced his steps, frantic, and plucked it from the sidewalk. He keeps the newborn, preserved in alcohol, in a jar on his desk.

Once upon a time, and every time after that, a fruit gave nothing to a tree but a promise for more trees. And yet, the fruit continues to be praised and valued far more than the tree itself.

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