Arlene L. Mandell is a retired English professor from NJ who now lives in Santa Rosa, CA. Her work has appeared in more than 350 literary journals and 17 anthologies.
Taming the Jasmine
Reaching out from the trellis, star-flowered vines brush against me, releasing clouds of fragrance. This humid morning I take up my shears. Each cut emits a teardrop of sticky white, and I remember
a silver-haired uncle who wouldn’t permit me to pick flowers in his Brooklyn backyard, who tugged one of my pigtails to demonstrate how it hurt them.
As I sweep the severed bits, the cuts have already stopped bleeding. A wayward tendril touches my cheek.