Issue #3: Nonfiction
Pistacia vera (Pistachio)
The Aegean Sea. I promise you will never see such blue. So why do I stare at the earth? The surface of this Greek Island is cracked, grows wild silver trees. Ugly as hunter’s hands, the branches grab me. Won’t let go. Like those boys who held me as a girl, making me watch as the rabbit they’d caught was skinned. “Just look and we’ll let you go” they said, and the guts slid out smooth and red as kidney beans. I cried and hated them. Hate them still. But hate is a sad foolish thing because those boys never lost their hold, not really, and it’s this hold you have on me now, wicked branches, as I turn from the sea and stare into your thorns, caught up by bones that breathe life. I forsake the clean sapphire of the Aegean, pass over oleander and lemon, just to stand by your side; pressing into barbed wire and staring into the past. Could I have closed my eyes? Did I wonder about the insides of rabbits? No, it was only those boys. Their grubby hands. And your branches. Old as time, still bearing fruit.
Sonja Livingston's essays have been honored with a NYS Fellowship in Literature, Iowa Review Award, Pushcart Prize nominations, and grants from Vermont Studio Center and The Deming Fund. Her work appears in many literary journals, and is anthologized in several textbooks. Her first book, Ghostbread, won the AWP Award for Nonfiction. Sonja is an Assistant Professor at the University of Memphis where she gawks at Elvis fans and dreams of snow.