or DEHISCENCE /de-his-cence/



1. Botany: the spontaneous opening at maturity of a
plant structure, such as fruit, in order to release its

in the yard across the street: late August
blooms. You break the summer chain-gang,
the tribe of neighborhood boys who you
run faster than, climb higher than, don’t
know about then. You are more agile and a
thinker of branch breaking, a thinker of
where to square your sneaker in the pivot of
those boughs. Your youth is birth marked
with a careful observance of the worst-case
scenario; but you have watched patiently for
the metamorphosis of the tree’s small ivory
blossoms. No one is home. You, monkey-
bars heroine, slink toward that old plum tree
that bears the teardrop fruit, dark as night

tucked high in branches, you split dusty
indigo skin with bunny teeth. Tart ripe flesh
gives way to sweet juice, until your stomach
tightens and your secondhand shorts are
filthy with bark fiber and sugar. You spit a
litter of clingstones along the trunk. You
fantasize this forage means you may never
need another adult again. Later, you’d learn
the name of those plums,

later, you’d know this was stealing. In Texas,
you could be shot. But you are just a kid. So
instead, one day your grip on a sand-smooth
branch slips and you drop like overripe
fruit. Your cheeks blaze in alarm and
miscalculation. No one sees this. It will be
the last time you climb the plum tree.
Although you missed the roots, you borrow
the story of so many other kids your parents
warned you about. You stagger home teary-
eyed, clutching vertebrae, describing the
pain of rocks & roots. You want their
attention. And they abide. They prune and
they fuss until all you can do is beam.


2. Medicine: a rupture or splitting open; a
previously closed wound reopening.

in the upstairs of the house, I have been
selected. The other kid is told to point his
sneakers to the corner. Somehow the cul-
de-sac became a whirlpool. Somehow we
were shipwrecked and I lost my legs. She is
the mommy, she tells me. I am a baby, she
tells me. Her body is a suffocating breast, a
woman’s breast: a taut, exposed moon,
urging and pulling

this wasn’t pop-fly, hide & seek. The boy is
told to look away. I want to look away.
I wonder if he knows, if he still knows? Come
on, baby. Open your mouth. Her nipple is a
spinning top. When you are seasick your
mouth waters. I imagine plum-skin, teeth
tearing, blood streaming, pulp ripping away
from stone, screaming: but i am floating
away above the house, the treetops –
buoyant, weightless

I have to go home for lunch. I lie.
Do not tell anyone, she tells me.
I obey. I run. She is older. Do as adults tell
you. My flushed cheeks are a bruise
anchored in my gut. Home, I crawl under
mama’s cutting board as she cooks atop,
ignoring her questions about neighborhood
kids, about games. I draw my limbs back
into the cocoon of my chest, hands
tightening around my elbows in the fist-
form of some night flowers. I tuck my chin
down, folding further into non-shape until
only a tiny fruit pit remains, littered around
the trunk of a plum tree.



"This piece was born out of my secondhand smoke, lower working class youth in the suburban grid. It reflects my ongoing rumination on the bond between the words we have (& don't have) and our private realities. It's a study of paradoxes."

Christina Anna Montilla is a multi-genre writer from the borders of the Emerald City. Her works are inspired by her family’s roots within the periphery, of their generational boredom and their heartbreak. Her stories and poetry have been heard around the Puget Sound. She daylights in accounting and contributes to STACKEDD magazine.