Onyx Publications

Etched Onyx Magazine
​Fall Edition - ​October 2021

Just stories and poetry.  Available for reading or listening.
Settle in, and enjoy.

The King of Weeds

Written By John Eric Vona

Narrated By Melissa Collings

            Debbie, Mrs. Debrossie, as her students called her, died when she stepped on a shovel while gardening. That’s right. A shovel. It had been left in the yard with the spade facing up and when she stepped on it the handle flew up and hit her in the head like a Charlie Chaplin movie.
            She died from that.      
            I wish I was kidding. The impact left little more than a bruise on her forehead and I can just imagine her laughing it off, that laugh I heard in countless faculty meetings. But it caused some sort of blood clot that worked its way to her brain. A few weeks later, she was dead, and I was taking another day off from work, putting in for another substitute to go to another funeral.      



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Still, The Noble Fig Tree, and Other Poems

Written By Kate Banks

Narrated By Melissa Collings

Still

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. 


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Locked Down for Murder

Written By Cheryl Rieger

Narrated By Melissa Collings

            Later, social media blamed Brandon’s death on stress from the pandemic. Everybody was stir-crazy, pushed to the edge of reason, so the explanation made sense. But in our private conversations, Lisa always swore the true cause was the onion rings at Rotier's, because if we hadn’t eaten lunch there as soon as the first lockdown lifted, we probably wouldn’t have decided to kill him.                                                  When it all began, I hadn’t seen Lisa for over ten years. In high school, Lisa was a member of one of the golden alpha-girl groups, rich in earthly possessions and beauty, the suns around whom the social life of the school circled. I drifted from one out-group to another, from the mystery book club to the math club to the theatre club, not unhappy or friendless but always aware of my lowly place     

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The Caregiver

Written By Kendall Klym

Narrated By Melissa Collings

             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 


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The Light Body

Written By T. Vojnovski

Narrated By T. Vojnovski

           It’s women who come to me, mostly. Men don’t carry much: just their mamas, a treasured old grudge, and a couple of girls. The girls never age: you’d be shocked how many guys are walking around with 15-year-olds. And they’re not sitting on some shelf, either—these girls weigh on them.
            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. 
        Then there are the normal things: lost pets, ancestors, sweating men in cars,
            
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Listen Avail. 12/12/21

Small Town Opera

Written By Tacheny Perry

Narrated By Tacheny Perry

            The Neighbers Bar and Grill was across from the Phillips 66 on the edge of town. Really, all parts of town were on the edge. One gas station, one bar, a Family Dollar, and a Pizza Hut. There used to be a Dairy Queen when Peter was growing up, but that had closed years ago, after the family that owned it moved to Omaha. It wasn’t even a town, really, just a place centrally located between farms and grain mills and the meat packing factory.
            It was a nice place to grow up though. Every spring there was a flower festival. There were contests for biggest, best color, and most exotic. Not that any of that had interested him. His mom had participated one year, but she’d complained the whole time because the flowers had to be grown inside. Nebraskan spring             

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Listen Avail. 12/26/21