Josephine “Jodi” Napiore received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Augsburg College. She has previously been published in the Mississippi Harvest and Kaleidoscope magazines; Temporal Discombobulations, through the University of Surrey, England; and the DaCunha Global website. www.Facebook.com/JosephineNapiore
The smell of the burning
campfire crawls into
my nose – the ash stings
my eyes with little daggers
making tears well.
A red glow shimmers
through the embers
like molten lava
or the scales on the back
of a giant reptile
as it clenches its treasure
with greedy claws.
To touch the light would sear
the flesh of my fingertips
like acid – leaving bits
of me to fall apart
and drop bitterly on the grass.
I hear the crackle of the fire
and imagine the rustle
of yellowed crinoline and dried
curling up with the smoke.
It is quiet in my mother’s kitchen.
The stove is empty. Rows of cookie jars
stare at me with ceramic eyes of cats
and windows in houses: my mother’s collection.
In the bottom cupboard I find
the old nut grinder with the glass belly
and red metal blades and turning
handle to grind up my heart.
“I am your grandmother,” it says. “You used
me for walnuts on Christmas cookies.”
My mother enters with the ashes of
her cat in a brass urn. She puts it on
the table in front of me. “Why aren’t you
having children?” she asks me.
“Why aren’t you getting another cat?”
I ask her. “That belonged to your grandmother,”
she says, tapping the empty nut grinder,
with one finger on the cool, smooth surface
of the glass bowl as she passes by, a caress
of her touch and she is gone.