"It's all choked," says Martha. "Leave it be, miss."
"It's a garden, surely," Mary points out, cross. "Only people and animals can be choked."
Martha shakes her head. "There's some things shouldn't be troubled with."
Mary scowls and turns around. The soles of her boots slap against the dark wood floor.
The robin does not seem to care how plain it is. Mary watches it peer down at her from the high wall, its red breast quite brash. Yellow weeds creep up the stone, like smoke flattening against the ground.
"What can you be thinking about me?" she says out loud. She is dressed very plainly herself. November is a brittle time, and all the plants left are husks.
She's not quiet enough. The robin flies off when she comes near, its wings quick and thrashing. More dead plants sway on their stalks. Mary crouches down to watch them: they're gray and bulbous, and rattle with seeds. The robin scolds her from the top of the wall. She glares at it. "I thought you trusted me." She flicks the dry husk, then plucks it off its stem. The seeds are tiny and hard when she pierces the gray bulb with her thumb; they look like black fleas against her skin. She throws it away, into the other weeds. Her heels have sunk deep into the earth.
Mary drops the plant on the table. Pollen and dry flowers scatter across the old, dark wood. Martha stops her polishing. "Where'd you get tha'?" she asks, not looking at Mary.
"By the garden." Mary lifts her chin high. "Some of it has grown outside." Martha turns her face away, and concentrates on the table again. Mary narrows her eyes. "Tell me what it is."
Martha puts down her rag and wipes one hand on her apron. She pinches the flowers and rubs her fingers together. Mary swallows when she sees the look on Martha's face. Martha holds out her hand, her mouth a thin line. "Mustard. Art happy to know? Shan't always be."
"I want to know everything," Mary retorts.
She falls asleep with the key pressed into her palm. The indentation stays there long after the robin wakes her.
It is not choked. It is just mud inside, violent and clawed, rising and falling in a long line of rows. The air smells faintly of rot, and of smoke. Mary clutches the small trowel in her hand. The space inside the walls is quite big, bigger than she had thought from the outside.
"This will be mine," she says out loud. "Someone must fill it up." The robin chirps, and struts along the wall. Mary steps forward, near the closest dip in the earth. Her boot sinks down, and stops against something hard. Mary kneels and begins to dig. She wants her garden, and there are many bones to be cleared.