portion of the artwork for Melissa Goode's story

More than food
Melissa Goode

You feed our daughter apple, cut into thin arcs. Boats, she calls them. The dense, white flesh against the thinnest line of red skin makes me swoon. She crunches into the first boat with her little, baby teeth and the sound fills the kitchen, the house. Is this what is meant by a child taking over the world?

#

I twist off a handful of cilantro. The smell hits my nose and my throat. It is the smell of earth and grass and a higher note, piquant, a promise. I bury my face into the raw, torn greenness. Later, you will tell me there is a leaf of cilantro on my neck. I will lean toward you, my neck there for the taking, the kissing, the cutting, and your fingers will be warm, warm against my skin as you peel away the leaf.

#

Sugared, jellied fruits resembling half-circles of orange and lemon, marzipan logs, cranberry nougat, chocolate bombs filled with soft caramel, and dark, glossy ganache decorated with slivers of gold leaf, crystallized violets, and tiny specks of rose petals. Staring down into the glass case where these creatures lie on silver trays is like looking through the glass bottom of a boat into the ocean, to watch iridescent fish dart and play in the coral reef. Do you want anything? you say, already at the cashier, buying your dose of Turkish delight. I cannot speak.

#

Tonight, we will not think of worldwide poverty, of starved pot-bellied children, of our ice-addicted neighbors, of the finest line between the savagery of democratic governments and the rule of dictators, of the possible annihilation of other nations, of ours. We will only think of our hot mouths tasting of chocolate and roses and violets, our fingers dusted with icing sugar, opening buttons and undoing zips, whispering in half-words, fragments, nonsense about fucking and being fucked and put me in your mouth and how-delicious-was-that-chocolate and let’s-eat-roses-and-violets-every-day. Is this what it feels like to be taken over? To drown?


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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 51 | Spring/Summer 2018