Recipe for a year of spring
by Shweta Narayan
Ingredients: two pomegranates large as nursing breasts, full and fallen from your mother's tree. A lemon, pucker-sour and bright. Spirits, distilled. If you cannot find vodka you may substitute the dead. 1. Peel and pith the pomegranates. Crush each pod between two fingers and let their blood run bright down your hand, untasted. You will want a bite. You will crave just one pod, just six. You know better. 2. Add spirits in equal volume to bloody juice then toss in the softened flesh. 3. For the lemon, use a blunt peeler. Be careful of rust; you will be peeling skin. Let surprise and sudden pain sweeten your own juice, then crush three drops -- no more -- into the cup to cure. 4. Store in the dark, which is to say anywhere here for a month, which is to say forever in the long hollowed bone of any woman sealed into her hurts and her scars. You know he likes those. 5. Filter out the flesh and any gristle. 6. Cry yourself to sleep. You know he likes that. Gather your tears in a cup of baked earth, molten sand, or bone. Top up with mingled blood bright and heavy and leave it by his bed. Do not taste. 7. When it sends him into sleep, run home to mother. And enjoy your year; this recipe can only be used once.
Shweta says: I was born in India and wandered westwards till I got to California, picking up bits of stray mythology and a muse who likes blood (which is to say that some parts of this recipe have been tested).
Most of the poems I've published lurk in These Very Archives, but there's one forthcoming in Not One of Us. My most recent stories can be found in Strange Horizons and Shimmer's Clockwork Jungle issue (and for those possessed of a time machine, in Realms of Fantasy, the Beastly Bride anthology, and the third Clockwork Phoenix anthology).
My favourite type of weather is musical: operatic winds, rain percussive against the window, me snug indoors with hot cocoa and a book.
I can be found on the web and in person (via said time machine) at Clarion 2007, for which I received the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship.
Back to Table of Contents