In the summer I gather leaves. Fagus sylvatica, acer campestre, elm, oak. Then I undress them. With loving care, my fingers peel the succulent, green flesh from around each groove, leaving the thin veins beneath.
I did this as a child. Portions of green and red and brown littered the house during the summer months, as I left the dainty, delicate wisps of seams and stems on windows, in books, on the fridge. My sister hated them. “They’re like skeletons. It’s gross. It’s like you’re dissecting them and leaving corpses around.”
When she died, I covered her coffin with them.
About the author: Charlie Swailes is a secondary school English teacher in West Yorkshire, where she lives with a husband, two little boys and an antisocial cat. Writing flash fiction in the little free time with the little free energy she has gives her a lovely warm sense of accomplishment.