Limb by Limb
A. Crossley Spencer

Limb by Limb

“We’ll replant something stronger, something that will last,” I tell her, but she’s smart enough to know that she will be gone long before the next generation reaches the same height.

A drop of rain falls onto my arm. For the second time this week, a sun shower begins to pour down on us, impossible to predict from this sky of brilliant blue.

Rotating her body, Kate dismisses my hand, swings around, and hangs from the largest limb. In an instant, she’s in front of me with red eyes and defeated shoulders. Raindrops make polka dots on her orange top.

“It doesn’t matter what we plant,” she says. “There’ll never be enough time.”

I pull her toward me and feel her hands lock at the small of my back. She tightens her grasp around my trunk, and we stand together in our infinity hold, the branches splayed above us like an umbrella.

“Not enough time for what, Birdie?”

She pauses then looks up. “For me to climb.”

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A. Crossley Spencer

is a freelance writer and a creative writing workshop instructor for kids. Her story "Limb by Limb" was a semifinalist for Ruminate's William Van Dyke Prize; "All He Left" won first place in Gotham Writers' Very Short Story Contest; and "The Scent of Rain on Dry Earth" is forthcoming in the Chautauqua Literary Journal. Represented by Maria Carvainis Agency, her novel, The Promise of Water, was named winner of the Caledonia Novel Award and has been recognized by the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, the Columbus Creative Cooperative, and the Faulkner-Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two children.