ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST in a locked memory care home
When ninety-year-old Caterina Aosta suspects a sinister force is harming her fellow residents, she plots to expose its evil and redeem herself for a long-buried secret before she becomes the next victim.
It’s a shock in a garden, how much you pull away. You pile aside the unproductive to rot, the better to use their decay as food for the living later. And even with all that skin shed, a garden never seems so different. Just looks the way it should. You’d never know how much was lost unless you saw it taken.
That morning among my plants, I unfixed my vision and let reality unhinge to show me the crawlers. They swarmed on anything at the verge of molder. I tore at where their wriggling unmasked blindweed roots strangling edible things. I plucked petunia heads softened by their squirming. Then I flexed my fingers to unkink the arthritis and looked past the rooftops of town, past Shadow Mountain, to stare at the uncountable craggy mountaintops beyond.
They peek out to comfort me with the way things are, whispering, “Hullo, you. You are a small little nothing.”
The mountains’ crust can crumble underfoot, letting souls fall through hollow spaces big as cathedrals, past canary bones in rusted out cages, past candles still nailed into stone. If there in the garden I’d thought on that, recalled how our world hides its truths, maybe I’d have been more prepared for the strangeness to come.
Instead, I wondered at the greenness of those peaks. Such an early melt in a high-altitude Colorado June seemed unright. But we were deep in a warming drought they said would never end, so who could tell what was normal any longer?