By Mo Sieber
Marigold was a place the children slept without memories. They lived there indeterminately in the hazy summer heat, swallowing lumps of pollen the bees fluffed up, while the fairies dozed and coughed and rolled over matted yellow in their sleep.
All slept dreamless sleep except Hayfairy, who dreamt of a light so bright it burned. She wanted more than anything to skirt around the flame, to dip her shoes light in its wax, so she could paint shadows all around the walls.
When one morning Hayfairy woke, it was from a fall. She pulled herself up in the grass and saw the Marigold stem looming over her. She thought of her sisters, but could not remember the faces only their names: Mead Gristle and Rose Hip. The pine needles smelled as tart as cut apples. She longed for the baked walnuts her mother used to make.
Mother? A faint image of a high skirted woman standing in a narrow hall of dusky light, led her into a kitchen.
The woman set dark squares at each of the places of for her three daughters. A blonde haired child with messy hair looked up at Hayfairy with an unwieldy grin. The brunette noticed her not at all as she was keeled over the table inspecting her brown square as Hayfairy approached.
“Sisters, mom, where is the magnolia. Where is the light?” Hayfairy asked.
She looked down at the blue sheath that covered her down to her knees.
The sister’s faces turned into lanterns. Expressions of glee danced on them in recognizing Hayfairy’s voice. They felt so light they almost floated to the ceiling. Hayfairy knew because she was one of them.
Harry called up and out through the window.
“Dad?” asked Rose Hip.
“Harry?” asked the large skirted woman.
“Yes. Where are you?” the girls looked up and out but could not tell where the voice came from.
They had floated out into the oak leaves. The lawn underneath the tree was as shady as the sky was sunny.
Hayfairy, Mead Gristle, and Rose Hip settled lightly on Harry’s lap as he rounded the hill: their father. Wide skirted woman stood at the door watching a moment, before going to gather acorn shells.
“Where is the light, Harry?” Hayfairy asked. She had an unending curiosity that fell from great heights, crossed over many oceans, climbed various mountains, and moved through outstanding distances of time.
“Hayfairy,” Harry said. “You are the sprite that woke. You dace in the light of your own bravery and still wonder where you are. You are in it. You created all this.”
“I am in the light?” Hayfairy asked. “But I sit in the shadow. We all sit in the shadow.”
Harry looked up into the branches. “This tree is very old and it protects us. And the light not only shines through the cracks onto your face, Hayfairy, my daughter, it is in you.”
“I am the light.”