These are the ropes that bind us to this world. He remembers a silver comb, passing through long black hair. His wife's face, turned away like the three-quarter moon, the sky full of white braid clouds.
This is the place they lived in. Just him and Keiko and Miu Miu, the black-and-white cat. Wires hum between the houses. He watches the sunlight move across the garden, an orange butterfly resting on the cat's stone.
Mr. Miyake was known for his tomatoes and moonflowers, both grown each summer from heirloom seed. The neighbors used to complain about his stand of milkweed, until he explained how the plants attracted Monarch butterflies. In October, their kids help him gather the ripened pods, white filaments flying in the breeze.
There is no attachment. One day, a careless match thrown in the alley, and the garage burned down. Keiko cried, "People hate us!" but he showed her the garden in moonlight. They had an unobstructed view, now.
Vapor trails, he would say, combing her long black hair. Even after the treatments, and it was coming out in handfuls, he would tell her she was beautiful, and her hair would make nests for the sparrows.
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First appeared on Visual Verse, Volume 2, Chapter 3