nigrescence

By RICARDO WILSON

She is on her knees in the garden. The sun, as of yesterday, an hour early. There are no dead snails in the saucers of beer, though she has finally seen the pale-yellow cabbage butterfly. Searching the half-eaten mustards and turnips, she looks for the caterpillars and their eggs as if she were inspecting a child for lice. Extracts the first, hiding along the stem of the most mature start. Studying its curl on her finger for a breath, perhaps peering its translucence to judge it female, before she presses. Leaf by leaf plant by plant until her fingertips are dirty with the mess. 

A car has downshifted to work its way up the private road below. She raises on her knees, wipes the mulch-stained sweat from her temple with the knuckle of her thumb. She may have seen the leather he keeps on his wrist. In any case, she has seen enough to trot the steps to the kitchen door without exhale, wash the stick from her hands at the utility sink.

 

[Purchase Issue 21 here.] 

 

Ricardo Wilson is an assistant professor of English at Williams College and the author of An Apparent Horizon and Other Stories and The Nigrescent Beyond: Mexico, the United States, and the Psychic Vanishing of Blackness. His fiction and critical writing can be found in, among other spaces, 3:AM Magazine, Black Renaissance / Renaissance Noire, Callaloo, CR: The New Centennial Review, Crazyhorse, and Stirring.

nigrescence

Related Posts

Messy desk in an office

May 2024 Poetry Feature: Pissed-Off Ars Poetica Sonnet Crown

REBECCA FOUST
Fuck you, if I want to put a bomb in my poem / I’ll put a bomb there, & in the first line. / Granted, I might want a nice reverse neutron bomb / that kills only buildings while sparing our genome / but—unglue the whole status-quo thing, / the canon can-or-can’t do? 

Leila Chatti

My Sentimental Afternoon

LEILA CHATTI
Around me, the stubborn trees. Here / I was sad and not sad, I looked up / at a caravan of clouds. Will you ever / speak to me again, beyond / my nightly resurrections? My desire / displaces, is displaced. / The sun unrolls black shadows / which halve me. I stand.

picture of dog laying on the ground, taken by bfishadow in flickr

Call and Response

TREY MOODY
My grandmother likes to tell me dogs / understand everything you say, they just can’t / say anything back. We’re eating spaghetti / while I visit from far away. My grandmother / just turned ninety-four and tells me dogs / understand everything you say. / They just can’t say anything back.