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Grateful
by Lisa K. Buchanan

Torment of a Lost Ecstasy
Thanksgiving is Oona’s favorite holiday, a celebration of gratitude, a day on which she can forgive the bearded bully in the jeep who flipped her the finger just now while she was on her way to the historically-restored home of her undivorced sister — not the volcanologist sister in Cameroon, but the entrepreneurial one whose chess-champ middle-schooler does not, like Oona’s own son, wear a tongue stud and singed brows; that is, the sister whose husband carves the turkey while Oona’s ex-disaster is off renewing himself at Machu Picchu with eleven other pranayama-breathers. Over pear tartelettes, Oona tells her sister she is genuinely pleased about their father’s recent remarriage, even though he no longer owns the cemetery plot next to their mother, even though the new wife is a celebrity-divorce junkie with a television in her bathroom and nine grandchildren needing orthodontia. Later, Oona drops her philanthrophobic adolescent at a friend’s house and drives to the local homeless shelter where her platter of roasted leftovers is received with a mere grunt. Home alone at the kitchen table, she spoons chocolate-liqueur sauce from jar to mouth, scraping metal against glass, wishing she could banish her negative energy, as she calls it — such narcissism, such envy — and see herself as a grateful person, one who finds beauty in a blueberry and wouldn’t ask a lover to shower before sex; one who steps aside for the person at the back of the grocery line, holding a lone quart of milk; one who isn’t afraid of cats or irritable with people for sneezing in the theater; one whom Oona herself could suffer.


All content in SmokeLong Quarterly copyright 2003-2014 by its authors.



Lisa K. Buchanan's fiction and essays have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. Fiction honors include a Pushcart Prize nomination, a Writer’s Grant from the Vermont Studio Center and finalist placements in both the Glimmer Train Fiction Open and the New Millennium Writings Competition. She lives in San Francisco and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing is from Mills College.

Read the interview.
Issue Six (October 15, 2004): Money on the Eyes by Ian Kita «» Fire. Water. by Avital Gad-Cykman «» On the Inside of a Horse’s Skull by Daphne Buter «» Breakfast in America by Angela Delarmente «» Broodiness by Alicia Gifford «» The Suspect by Joseph Young «» Picnic by Robin Slick «» Rabbit Karma by Bea Pantoja «» Grateful by Lisa K. Buchanan «» Getting Religion by Carol Novack «» The Green Dress by Beverly Jackson «» Smoky Clothes by Ellen Parker «» Shopping List by Liesl Jobson «» The Nub by Jordan E. Rosenfeld «» Swallow Whole by Spencer Dew «» Dead Weight by Jensen Whelan «» Instructions for a Son upon Finding Something of his Father’s by Robert S. Jersak «» 201 Feet by Andrew Tibbetts «» Slip it In by Myfanwy Collins «» Frostbite by Katrina Denza «» Interviews: Ian Kita «» Avital Gad-Cykman «» Daphne Buter «» Anglea Delarmente «» Alicia Gifford «» Joseph Young «» Robin Slick «» Bea Pantoja «» Lisa K. Buchanan «» Carol Novack «» Beverly Jackson «» Ellen Parker «» Liesl Jobson «» Jordan E. Rosenfeld «» Spencer Dew «» Jensen Whelan «» Robert S. Jersak «» Andrew Tibbetts «» Myfanwy Collins «» Katrina Denza «» Cover Art "Torment of a Lost Ecstasy" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor
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