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Story by Leanne Dunic (Read author interview) August 26, 2021

Photograph by Amit Talwar

They grow apples, pears. Turn the press to extract juice so sweet it needs an extra part water. They believe in juice, and morning coffee with three spoonfuls of sugar. She’s had a lifetime of migraines. Please drink some water, I beg. She refuses, and he says he won’t touch the stuff either. He takes wine from his coddled grapes. These days, instead of the farm, she tends to a gull on the porch, feeding it bread she keeps in a cardboard box. Sparrows beak the crumbs. I cannot tell her how bread crumbles avian bones. She speaks again, of how the eagle took one of the hens in the field and how she no longer wants to live. Nothing has gotten better since their son died, yet there are always chocolates on the table. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, he dissolves brown sugar crystals in water, leaves the nectar on the counter for his ants to feed. One crawls into the plastic bag he uses to gift me lemon cake, and he ushers it out. It’s difficult not to step on his pets’ crawling, plump bodies. Another climbs inside his shirt sleeve, and he allows this, while she collects the trampled ones from the floor.


This micro was a finalist in the 2021 SmokeLong Grand Micro Contest. 

About the Author

Leanne Dunic is a biracial, bisexual woman who has spent her life navigating liminal spaces, inspiring her to produce trans-media projects such as To Love the Coming End (Book*hug/Chin Music Press 2017) and The Gift (Book*hug 2019). She is the fiction editor at Tahoma Literary Review, the fiction mentor at SFU’s The Writer’s Studio, and the leader of the band The Deep Cove. Her lyric memoir One and Half of You comes out with Talonbooks Spring 2021. She lives on the unceded and occupied traditional territories of the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh people.

About the Artist

Find more photography by Amit Talwar on Unsplash.

This story appeared in Issue Seventy-Two of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Seventy-Two

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