Stew With Mushrooms
lately, everything is an exercise in coping.
do you know how that is? have you ever
found solace in a knife and a pile of
mushrooms? remind me, how many years
have i, have you, wasted in the chapel? where did
those lies get me? where did that hate get you?
sunday afternoon, your car pulls up. here
i am, slicing mushrooms. i cope: ignore the
bells. rub garlic on the insides of my wrists.
pretend the meat isn’t weeping pus. the hungry
can’t pick and choose. slim pickings:
a fouled heart, or communion wine turned vinegar.
i chop the mushrooms. fear writhing in
my stomach. my stomach, the pit. my
stomach, the crater where your brother
landed, left burnt earth, fragments
of skull behind. i call him meteor.
asteroid. you know, i was never clear on
the difference. so i cut the mushrooms.
knife down. knife up. knife down—
next, the carrots. an onion. i cut the
meat last. pull it from my chest with
all the ceremony of fetching leftovers.
no need to beat it. it’s tender already
from all the beatings, the bruises.
they say you get a bruise for every birthday.
two for every baby tooth lost. five for
everyone who’s ever fallen out of your gums. is it
still loss if you pull them out? tie string
three times around, slam the door, pull?
ignore the blood. knife down.
By Zara Williams
Zara Williams is an artist and a storyteller, currently studying English literature and history of art at the University of Edinburgh. She is Director of Social Media at Monstering, a magazine for disabled women and nonbinary people, and at Half Mystic, a literary journal about music. She was a recipient of the Scottish Book Trust’s Young Writers Award – a national award for young people aged 13-17 – in 2013 at the age of 15. Her poetry has been published in the Young Writers Award 2013 e-book. Her more recent work has been featured on Monstering’s blog, and in The Dinner Table Review.