Earthy, bitter, almost musky, with a bit of pepperiness

My beloved called them “peekers”—golden faces of those who had passed, noses protruding like poppies up from the grassy mats. Drunk on diesel fuel, we danced barefoot upon foreheads and freckles, fearing not the curses our friends foretold—porcupines, pimples, pale priests. Flecks of glittering gold from dead irises, eyelashes, eyebrows nestled into our noses, our toes, the tips of our tongues. They tasted of turmeric, of trouble.

Bethany Jarmul is a writer, editor, and artist. Her work has appeared in The Citron Review, the Brevity Blog, Gastropoda, Literary Mama, and Sky Island Journal, among others. She earned first place in Women On Writing’s Q2 2022 essay contest. She lives near Pittsburgh with her family. Connect with her at or on Twitter: @BethanyJarmul.

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