It was spring, and that meant it was near the season to stop going outside. Spring was when the neighbors—the neighboring neighborhood—stretched its muscles. When the flowers came up, that’s when they wanted to hit you.

She was a painter. Flowers, yes, and grass and the dogs. She didn’t paint people but she smiled at them as they sat on the benches. She hadn’t decided, if this year she liked people.

Be careful, one of them on the benches told her, Now is when the ambushes go up.

Oh, she said. It’s awful, isn’t it? She looked about her, and though she was worried she couldn’t tell, Which were the ambushers and which weren’t? She wasn’t the kind to say, that’s the ones, or, there they are.

Well goodbye then, she said, I’ll see you when it’s not so bad. Petals from the tree had dropped to her acquaintance’s lap, one on the scarf that covered her hair.

She went home and started a drawing, a beautiful, big dog that stood—wide-jawed and dappled—to guard the park. There were flowers, yes, and the wind and new soil.

Oh, she said, and started quietly to cry. Later, she thought, she’d march straight out the door.



JOSEPH YOUNG writes and makes art in Baltimore. His book of microfiction, Easter Rabbit, was released in 2009 from Publishing Genius, and his chapbook, 5 drawings of the maryland sky, from Ink Press in 2012. Links to these books, as well as other writing and art, can be found at