by T.L. Sherwood

The Secret

The seed

the tree

the saw

the specialized truck.

The claw arm

the stack

the trip

the mill

the curing

the bundling

the ride.

The store

the customer

the Carhartt jacket

the stroke

the held at eye level to check the grain

the garage

the table saw

the planer

the table saw again.

The sander

the glue

the clamp

the lathe

the polish

the splitting of dowels

the matching designs to ornate.

The Box

The wrapping paper eschewed

the bow he kidnapped from the tasseled bike

the disappointed voice of his wife

the less than stunning praise

the damp praise

the pointing it out to his kin

the quality

the workmanship

the second girl born romantic hearing the worship

the coveting beginnings.

The mention

the disappointment of the will

the tender cry

the sister

the executor

the I don’t give a fuck

the get it out of here

the take it, take it

the hurt

the hug.

The Gift

The college graduation send-off party

the wish for cash

the guilted plague to “keep it in the family”

the lack of relatives to regift it to

the gradual growth

the change to appreciation

the steady

the mine

the marriage

the affair

the love letters

the broken lock

the divorce

the remarry

the passing of days once merry.

The sad day

the bad year

the heavy

the nostalgia

the resurrection from the spare room

the notice of a hidden panel

the urge to FaceTime

the urge to learn TikTok

the snap of the head back

the laugh at the thought that it might be Victorian porn.

The hesitation

the tug

the pull

the brittle things

the scripted clue

the smile

the why not?

the trip to the garden center

the dirt

the pot

the kick in the pants if they really did take root.

The story to tell

the box

the gift

the secret

the false bottom

the Valentiney notation about

the whirly bird seeds taken from under

the maple tree where

the distant relative who made

the box kissed his wife for

the very first time.


Among other places, T. L. Sherwood’s work has appeared in New World Writing, Jellyfish Review, Elm Leaves Journal, Page & Spine, and The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. Her work was recently nominated by Fictive Dream for Best Microfictions. She lives in western New York. She blogs here and tweets there @ TLSherwoodTheW1.