A History of Soup

It had nothing to do with forensics. At least I don’t think. It was all about soup. Soup and the smell of grass clippings, the garbled sunshine and the slick salesperson who showed up that summer carrying an armful of forged coupons, begging to live with us.

Those were airtight afternoons. Straightjacket air. My sister hummed ekphrastic inside a cage of it. Her lips were too chapped, her dress a frail fence.

But back to the soup. To the Borscht. We shouldn’t have been served it, but there were just too many beets. Mother worried about infestation and the salesman still lived with us.

I didn’t see it, only read the corollary in Sis’s diary. How one day her soup bowl grew a diving board on the rim. How when she hit the surface, carmine-colored broth blasted across the walls, across the head of the table.

It was a shock. Like booming thunder, heard and unseen.

I keep expecting Sis to re-emerge, poke her head up from the Borscht. I keep expecting those wall stains to fade or speak, but they never do.

Len Kuntz is a writer from Washington State and the author of four books, most recently the story collection, This is Why I Need You, out now from Ravenna Press. You can find more of his writing at https://lenkuntz.blogspot.com.

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