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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 15: Sept. 2022
Microfiction: 151 words
By Stephen D. Gibson

The Tree of Knowledge of Life

—After Hide-and-Seek by Pavel Tchelitchew

Daisy went into the woods alone, wearing red. We had circled around her, arms over each other’s shoulders to bless her on her way, watching her go into the woods, mouths open but finally saying nothing, no warnings. The young are deaf; she was old enough that there was no stopping her. We saw her go into the woods, but our mouths were empty. We are only faces, hands and feet. She will be surrounded by children born, unborn, still born. A pale butterfly will change her world. A baby’s head will be a womb, its arms fallopian tubes. We are only branches, vines, blood, veins, bones, and vanity. The woods are their own being, not friendly. Hands and feet, we labor in the fields, the orange groves, the pecan orchards. They were woods, once upon a time.



Publisher’s Note:

Hide-and-Seek (oil on canvas, 1940-42), by Russian-born surrealist painter Pavel Fyodorovich Tchelitchew (1898-1957), is held by MoMA (Museum of Modern Art), New York City.

To view the painting, see the article by Hamilton Morris, “Finding Hide-and-Seek: A journalist discovers why Pavel Tchelitchew’s enigmatic painting really might be worthy of cult worship,” at MoMA online (31 May 2019); link retrieved on 2 September 2022:

Stephen D. Gibson’s
Issue 15, September 2022

fiction has appeared in Western Humanities Review, The Citron Review, Vestal Review, and elsewhere. His stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best Microfiction. More of his work can be found at SDGibson.org.

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