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March 27, 2012 / Purple Lily

Yellow Tree

There she lay sideways on the four-post bed staring out the window for hours. Occasionally she coughed and moaned in pain. The air in the bedroom was thick with the scent of illness and the corners appeared darker as if shadows awaiting their prey in the night. The poorly lit room did not reveal the growth of mold descending the walls like the rotting veins of dying corpse.

He came to tend to her. She had been sick since the fall. It was winter now just a few days after Christmas. She spoke softly to him, with little strength she had: “Do you see the yellow tree in the parkway?” “Yes, of course.” he answered softly while holding her hand. “When the last leaf falls, I will leave you.” she said gently squeezing his hand and, he was devastated. 

She never knew what type of tree it was but always loved the way the leaves turned yellow in the fall. And admired it mostly at night when under the street lamplight the leaves glimmered like gold. The yellow tree had only but few leaves left on its thin wintry branches. And while she lay sleeping he painted for her a landscape on the window. 

Days passed, leaves fell and, the scent of rot heavily burdened the room the call of death circled above. She stared out the window for days waiting for the last leaf to fall. 

New years day came and he went to see her filled with optimism. He found her lying there sideways on the four-post bed with her back facing the window, her last breath gone. He had painted her a Yellow Tree, the last leaf immovable, never to fall. But she died consumed in waiting.


Poem based on the short story “The Last Leaf” written by O. Henry.  __________________________________ Written by: Lillian Last Revised  Sat, Aug 8th, 2009 Midnight

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