Borscht and Seashells

Today I had lunch at Boris and Vera’s. Vera made Borscht. She remembered how I used to love to come down and eat Borscht. It always felt exotic to me. Anya hated Borscht. Which is why Vera appreciated my appreciation of it. Boris was there. And Emily. Boris’s hangdog face now hung in loose, ashen folds. When he talked to Vera his tone was snippy, jangled. When he talked to Emily he was playful. He kidded her a lot. When he was silent his moroseness assumed volume. After lunch Emily took me into her room and showed me her toys. She asked me if her mother had a lot of toys when she was little. I told her she had a pretty good amount. More than me, she asked. About the same, I said. Emily nodded. That was the only time she mentioned her mother. Emily showed me her seashell collection. She kept them in shoeboxes that she had painted blue. She took out a conch shell and handed it to me. If you put it against your ear you can hear the ocean, she said. I pressed the shell against my ear. And heard the ocean. Do you hear it, Emily asked. I hear it, I told her. Then I handed the shell back to Emily who pressed it against her hear and marveled, I can hear the ocean.

About John Biscello

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, spoken word performer, and playwright, John Biscello now lives in Taos, New Mexico. He is the author of three novels: Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, and Nocturne Variations, and a collection of stories, Freeze Tag. His fiction and poetry has appeared in: Art Times, nthposition, The Wanderlust Review, Ophelia Street, Caper, Polyphony, Dilate, Militant Roger, Chokecherries, Farmhouse, BENT, The 555 Collective, Instigator, Brass Sopaipilla, The Iconoclast, Adobe Walls, Kansas City Voices, and the Tishman Review. His blog--Notes of an Urban Stray--can be read at Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale was named Underground Book Reviews 2014 Book of the Year.
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