Etched Onyx Magazine
Fall Edition - October 2021
Just stories and poetry. Available for reading or listening.
Settle in, and enjoy.
The King of Weeds
Still, The Noble Fig Tree, and Other Poems
I wake to find the world dangerously still,
flattened against a cottony sky.
Lavender spears slouched against the stone wall,
Japanese lanterns plumped up, holding their breath,
a gecko neatly pressed into a crease of the windowsill,
all unmoved by my stares.
I swear the world has come to a halt.
The wind chimes hang numbly from the crooked arm of an olive tree,
a sure sign of gravity,
and the gravity of the moment.
Locked Down for Murder
Kneeling on a boat cushion in the middle of the garden, Patrice seizes the bottom end of a butternut squash. Like a chiropractor adjusting a patient’s neck, she twists and pulls. When her method fails, she grabs the vine. Prickly spines dig into her slender fingers as she jerks the squash with her other hand. When the butternut breaks free, she drops it and rubs her hand. Normally she wears garden gloves, but not today; it’s too hot—unusually so for September in Connecticut. Ever since she turned forty-five, both heat and cold seem to bother her more. Patrice places the tawny, vase-shaped vegetable in a supermarket bag. With a clean cloth she keeps in her hip pocket, she wipes the condensation from her eyeglasses and inspects the rest of the patch: two ready to pick and one still
The Light Body
Still, it’s nothing compared to us. We’ve got eighteen copies of our mothers by the time we’re twenty, the sins of our no-good uncles, even our husband’s mother, for the ones silly enough to marry. After the economy crashed, I saw girls hobbled by whole houses, families so wretched I couldn’t tell who was still alive.