"[This kombucha was brewed in the kitchen sink]" by Anastasia Jill
This kombucha was brewed in the kitchen sink; it climbs from the cup to her lips, muffling all traces of affection. It counts her teeth the way I count the seconds dressing themselves as centimeters, pushing her hand from mine.
She won’t look at me but keeps drinking that damn tea.
We sit in her kitchen as her father talks about the hurricane currently fermenting in the Atlantic. He sits in a chair across from me, thick and concrete like an eye wall. His words are too big to fit in my ears, so I stare at her instead. She drinks tea and keeps pretending I’m not there.
It doesn’t go unnoticed when her chair moves away from mine, or that her ring is turned over, the emerald cowering under the fat curve of her tendon. The gem smacks its face against the cup when she takes a sip, while she and her father continue to talk about the southern weather.
There is a big storm situated in the gulf, falling victim to a phenomenon known as the Fujiwhara effect: a typhoon merged with a depression to create a super tempest.
“That’s unfortunate,” I say to the bottom of my cup.
“It is,” he tells me, frank. “But it happens.”
On reflex, I reach out to hold her hand, but she pulls away, leaving my bones awkwardly bowing to the table top. My action the moment before was so small, but I know he noticed. His eyebrow shadowed his face, and his spine grew catastrophically stiff.
The next minute, it passes, and we continue talking about everything but that. She turns to me, sitting straight as her father and asks, “Would you like anymore of this tea?”
Anastasia Jill (Anna Keeler) is a queer poet and fiction writer living in the southern United States. She is a current editor for the Smaeralit Anthology. Her work has been published or is forthcoming with Poets.org, Lunch Ticket, FIVE:2:ONE, Ambit Magazine, apt, Into the Void Magazine, 2River, Requited Journal, and more.
Photo Credit: Marta Huo