I Leave Trinkets In Boo Radley’s Tree

Jessica Willingham

With a quarter and a pecan, I tell Boo I’m ready to talk. Boo leaves me two quarters which means he’s ready to listen,  I tell him everything, tell him what happened while he’s been gone. I leave him a river stone to say the world is smaller, older, and I’m sad. He leaves me a rusty bent fishing hook with some wire still attached, frayed like a hair’s split end. Boo says even the best things get away from us. I leave him an antenna topper, a smiley face round and loud as a lemon. I’ve been taken for a ride. Boo leaves me newspaper clipping of an astronaut. What do you want, the moon? And I’m mad because I do, I do want the moon. I leave him a small flag; I can’t stop thinking about space and time. About dusty umber globes, about cowboys and courage and stars. Boo leaves a paper ticket from the circus. He means to tell me that the tent comes to town every year, for the duration of his childhood, and of my childhood, and of every childhood of every child that ever was or will be. I leave him a kitchen timer to say thank you. He leaves me a tiny toothpick dispenser, loaded with white pine picks. Everyone gets hours stuck in their teeth. I leave him a Sonic peppermint. I’m okay now. Boo cements the hole but hangs a birdhouse, so that we may share in something outside of ourselves. Above us, the Choctaw tree drops ancient fruit orbs. Pecans turn from green to gold.

Jessica Willingham is a Lighthouse Writers Book Project graduate and editor at Five South. She lives and writes in Oklahoma. @jesswcreative

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