Chalk Circle

False apple, pale vegetable— green lightbulbs swinging like unripe hearts in the trellis among curled leaves: unchoked among the rampant honeysuckle, sayote that we ate the week after a hurricane and its deadly mudslides locked the city in. Only Sunshine grocery was open; but no bread, only de lata: sardinas, canned mackerel, corned beef, beans (one square of fat the size of a postage stamp, hidden somewhere in a swamp of legumes). No onions, no frying, no lard. But plenty of rice, sayote boiled on the kerosene stove, a squeeze of wild lime. Choppers overhead, long lines at the water main where someone had pried a valve open and everyone came with plastic pails, gallon bottles. Children washed their faces and made newspaper boats in the rain. In the evenings, we piled mattresses in the center of the living room floor and watched our shadows lengthen by candlelight, ash-brown, dark-tinted like a ring we’d drawn, thin membrane between us and the cold.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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