Daphne

after Heather Christie

‘This place is a forest now,’ the woman said. Concrete blocks were being cracked apart by glorious mountain ash and yellow box. Our roads had become torrents cutting swathes through schoolyards and housing estates. There were jungle effects in the malls and wildness in the libraries.

‘A forest,’ she repeated. ‘So we must adapt.’

‘I don’t know how to,’ the man said looking glumly across meadows which once were carparks. He kicked at the ground, sulking like a child.

‘Here, I’ll show you,’ the woman said. Closing her eyes, she raised her arms, opened her fingers to the air and swayed back and forth in the breeze like a young tree. 

‘Humbly,’ she intoned, ‘we exchange gases with the wind, we swap rain for juice, the sunshine, every spangle.’

For a moment all was quiet.   

When she opened her eyes, she saw that the man had surpassed her. He was already entrunked, his shoes sunk in the leaf litter. Birds were circling his outstretched limbs, tweaking his sprouts. A rare hollow had opened in his side, deep enough for a black cockatoo or a sugar glider’s nest. 

The man hummed quietly to himself. It was an annoying self-satisfied noise; something you’d never hear in a genuine eucalypt forest.

‘Stop, stop,’ she said. ‘That’s not the way. It’s vulgar.’ 

But the man ignored her as he became more and more tree. ‘Now you’re my koala,’ he said.   


Image: Apollo and Daphne by Bernini (detail). Galleria Borgese, Roma, c/- Wikimedia.

And, as the rain continues here’s Manchester musician and saxophonist Alabaster DePlume with Visit Croatia

5 thoughts on “Daphne

  1. I had to go and read the myth to understand its deeper meaning. I love your creative reimagining of the myth. May this be the passing of humankind. Wonderful word, “entrunked.”

    Like

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