Illustrations by Isabel Garcia.

Illustration by Isabel Garcia.

giving me a giving tree

i am standing in the middle of a landscape of bodies. live ones. i can tell because they wriggle and writhe and demand to be fed. i said i would feed you if you ever got hungry, but this is getting out of hand.

“i’m sorry,” said the tree, “but i have no money. i have only leaves and apples. take my apples, boy, and sell them in the city. then you will have money and you will be happy.”

“why can’t everything just stop comparing itself to you?” the world says, “look, this is what i gave you. this is what i am still giving you.”

you are sitting on the bench with your back against the wall. i am being civil. We do not touch until the very end. when i talk about myself, i sound like a narcissist. when you talk about yourself, you sound like you’ve moved on.

and the funniest part of it all is that when i look down, you have the same hands. you have the same nubby fingernails, the same little groove on your thumb. it is almost as if your body is taunting me, saying, “here is what has not changed. through everything, i am still here.”

you took the apples, and you sold them in the city. now you have money, and now you are happy. what have i got? what am i supposed to do?