Francine Witte
Flash Fiction Winner

and the famine coming to a close.  Thousands gone from potato death and the dumb, aimless wind wafting blight spores like music.  

I was a girl, 16, watching from the window.  My father, a human horseshoe bent over the crop.  There had been nothing for days, and the last meal I shared was with Seamus Logan, 50 and breathstinking, fingers like old prunes.  He ran the tailoring shop in town, and his wife had died mysterious. He’d let me come over for great meals of bacon and hunks of bread. His kisses were watery and foul, and I was trying my best to stay away.  

I looked at my mother by the unlit, vacant stove.  My brother, a tiny baby pulling at her teat.  She stuck her thumb into his mouth as they rocked and rocked.  How happy we’d be to all of us eat again.    

My father came in, a basket of potatoes in his tan, ropey arms.  “For me, and your mother,” he said.  “She’s got to make milk for my only son.”   

My mistake was being a girl.  Farm useless.  I sat there, starving as they ate.  Later, when they slept, I ran off for good to Seamus Logan.   

Days went by, and Seamus told me my family was dead from the Cholera.  “Blighted potatoes” he said.  “The rot can sleep unseen for days.”   

And this was the start of the rest of my life.  My future containing a given harvest of lovehunger and almost regret.  

First published: Aug, 2008
comments to the writer: doorknobsandbodypaint@gmail.com