Crimson and Clover by Carly Berg

March 28, 2013 Comments Off on Crimson and Clover by Carly Berg

Baby hair stuck up through the mulch, feathery blond tufts. Dammit, Millie thought as she tossed her rose clippers down and then yanked it out of the ground like a turnip. It remained still and gray even after the mud was scooped from its mouth. But when she snipped the roots, freeing the carcass for the trash can, it howled like a storm.

In the kitchen, the greedy thing drank half a bottle of liquid houseplant food from a dropper.

She laid him in an inch of water in the sink to keep him moist. He kicked his twiggy legs.

“Bring me a big flowerpot, would you?” she called to Jack, since by then she was thawing ground beef in a pan on the stove.

“Christ on a cracker, Millie. Not another one.”

“What do you want me to do about it?” she said. She’d told him that the house was built on the old Woodstock field, but he just had to have it anyway.

“Dirty hippies,” he replied as if he had read her mind.

“You got that right. See if there’s any more potting soil out there too, would ya?”

Jack potted up the new dirt baby while Millie fixed Hamburger Helper.

Late at night sometimes, they’d sneak a few babies onto the neighbors’ porches, and some mornings, they’d awake to find a few of the neighbors’ babies on theirs.

The little ones need their soil changed often and need to be fed by hand. The older ones hop around the garden, nibbling the plants down to nubs. They howl when they’re hungry, and they’re always hungry. They give no love. It’s all me, me, me.

© 2012 Carly Berg

Carly Berg’s stories appear in PANK, Word Riot, Bartleby Snopes and elsewhere. She was playing the song “Crimson and Clover” and wondering what the heck it meant and this is what she came up with.

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