Poetry & Prose

“The Trees are Fake” / Flash Fiction

By Daphne Hall

I’ve never been before, unless you count when I was born (Mom doesn’t). She

wanted out of there quicker than a bull in a rodeo, which sounds very Texas to me.

When I ask why, she talks about her daddy, my papa, and reminisces about him before

his mind got lost.

There’s nothing left for us in Tallahassee. Except I got friends there—and a cat

that I’d sneak food out to when Mom wasn’t looking. She says that I’ll make new friends

in Commerce and even get a dog. When I told her I wanted a cat she glared at me.

Texas is dog country. But I’ve seen pictures of her from before. There’s one of her sitting

on a couch with my daddy and an orange tabby nestled between them.

We pull into a McDonald’s and Mom orders a Coke with extra ice and a sweet tea

for me. We split a large fry, thankful for the indulgence. I wonder if they’ll have fake trees

in Commerce like they do here. I can’t ask Mom because I don’t think she’s supposed to

know they’re fake. Birds sit on the beige branches with purpose. Perfect leaves extend

in measured amounts, careful not to jut out farther than another. Can they build nests in

the tree? When a baby bird hatches, does it know it’s home isn’t real?

I ask Mom what she thinks of the trees to test her.

HoneyBee, those are cell towers.

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