• leaflet

    . . .a thin triangular flap of a heart valve. . . a small book usually having a paper cover . . . a medical lit-art e-journal from The Permanente Press
  • 1

The Hanging Gardens of Suburbia

Vol 6: Iss 2, Prose

He wheels the human-sized catapult from the darkness 

of his shed into the backyard, mindful of lavender phlox

and golden tulips dangling over the path. Positions the catapult 

for launch, damp hands rest on the wooden contraption, trembling

fingers find the smooth curve of the catapult’s wheel, caressing, 

then move across the upright fulcrum, stroking, as he climbs up high,

tucks himself into the leather payload bucket, glances down, 

catches sight of the pond, the apricot-shaded koi fish circling 

endlessly, a life unfree, a purpose unrealized. A final salute 

to the carp, then activates the catapult’s torsion spring 

and throwing arm. 


The payload bucket swings up hard, fast, fires him into the air, 

across the backyard in a wide arc, out of the sky he drops and crashes

into his wife's award-winning greenhouse, as shards of glass explode 

upon the quiet Tuesday afternoon. Bones crack, some breach flesh, stab

into piles of potting soil. He turns crimson his wife's yellow daffodils, nestles 

among snapped-neck orchids and violets beheaded, adopts death’s pose, 

a star fish laid flat far from the sea, open eyes vacate while openings dribble 

blood. A tooth perches in the dirt next to a greying face that clings

to a nose almost sheared off.  


Out of the house the wife charges into the backyard, eyes raking in 

the destruction, enters the remnants of her greenhouse, ears burning

from pink to red. A greenhouse once templed in the largest of backyards, 

a backyard once ordained “Garden of the Month” by the town, now in ruins 

against the backdrop of the spent catapult. Clenched fists dig deeper at the sight

of purple begonias bruised flat, at the mound of porcelain pieces, once a rare 

Victorian planter. The plotted life, the confident prognostics she relished…uproots, 

disembowels, and her eyes fall upon her husband entombed in a heap of dirt, 

adorned in crushed petals. Like a cat about to pounce upon a hamster uncaged, 

she creeps closer, bends down to her knees, stares into his eyes, leans over 

his withered form, gently whispers in his ear, “You son of a bitch, you,” and then 

she kisses him hard on the lips.