First, Kylie died, something that’s still hard to think about. She died in winter and I got the news in a rented apartment in Sevilla before heading out on a tapas tour. Those two things don’t belong in one sentence, and didn’t belong in one day, and it took a long time to sink in. Kylie died, the orange trees in Sevilla threw out their scented blossoms, and I flew home. We held a memorial and planted a redbud. We read poems and walked one by one to pour vases of water over the tree, to seal it to the earth, offer it life. Everyone was there, because everyone loved her. Still, her tree struggled. It was too far from the spigot, planted too late in the season. Sometimes I filled buckets with water and lugged them across the footbridge. Sometimes Amelia dragged a hose 60 feet to give it a good soaking. It wasn’t enough. The leaves drooped and withered. I felt guilty for the tree, guilty for Kylie. Then, a year later, across a rainy lawn I spotted pink on the branches. The tree is back, despite it all.
March 3, 2015