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Miss Zucchini Blossom

by Sonja Livingston


Hadn’t planned on riding that day in a parade, 
straddling her Uncle Frankie’s Chevrolet, waving
to the throngs of people who came out to celebrate squash,
even in the rain. It was all so new; the open-toed sandals, the gilded sash,
the large orange flower trumpeting from her left ear. Still, she did her best
to become a part of the parade, tried to float past the marching band,
the sounds of tuba, cymbal, and snare, throwing candy kisses
to the kiddies, making herself smile, thinking of the boys she’d someday meet, the places
she’d someday go, the love advice she’d received, the way her grandma said touch many,
trust few
and as he drove them round the corner, past Mount Carmel Church,
Uncle Frankie shouted proudly to Father Esposito while crossing
himself and Miss Zucchini lowered her head to whisper the names of the saints and finger
the oversized flower in her hair which must be the color of new apricots by now,
the color of sunset in winter, a Tibetan monk throwing off his robe, and as they pushed
past the crowds and made their way along the final leg of parade, she touched
the blossom again, soft crepe skin, and remembered her mother,
the way she filled them with feta, fiori di zucca, then fried them in oil, her mother,
gone now, so Ms. Blossom turned her thoughts again to the flower
in her long red hair, the way she’d found it that morning, flaming
petals unopened, green ribs wrapped round itself,
how it had fallen from the plant
before she’d ever touched it, as if rising
to meet her hand.

 

Sonja Livingston has received an AWP Award in Nonfiction, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, an Iowa Award, and grants from the Deming Fund and the Vermont Studio Center.  Her work has appeared in many journals, including Alaska Quarterly Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, Gulf Coast, and The Cream City Review. A book of nonfiction, Ghostbread, is forthcoming from the University of Georgia Press. She holds an MFA from the University of New Orleans and teaches in UCLA Extension’s Writing Program. (6/2009)


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