SmokeLong Quarterly
top menu
Food Spectrum of the Rainbow Family
by Melissa Bell

A great, fat wine. Steak bloody. Desire and body. Brain doesnít even bother trying to get a word in edgewise. No Brain necessary tonight. Brain not invited. This is an evening of engorged muscles and pumping organs. Scarlet splashes on the tablecloth and cherries on fire for dessert. Sorry, Brain, you and your matter of reasonable grey just donít fit the dress code; you might as well go wait in the car.

Autumn and a bowl of clementines. He makes crŤpes suzette right there in the bedroom and pours you a snifter of Grand Marnier at 8:30 a.m. He gets powdered sugar all over the dark sheets, and insists on feeding you with a spoon. You feel silly letting him do this, but only just a little. He uses his thumb to smooth a drop of syrup from your lower lip. You lick it off. He sucks his thumb.

Lemons and egg yolks and butter. A dash of Dijon. See how things come together so naturally and elegantly when you give things meaning, when you give them purpose, and when you learn how to do them properly? There is magic here. Who had told you this would be difficult? Itís just slightly more work than an omelette, and even though that would have been enough for many, it would not have been enough for right now. What youíre doing is making it special. What youíre doing is chemistry. Keep things flowing and consistent; hesitancy could mean having to start all over again.

Pea shoots and bright leaves of lettuce growing in a willow basket on the front porch - a basket that he came so close to throwing out when he was cleaning the garage. You had argued. You had begged. He smoked his first cigarette in two and half years and you crumpled up a twenty and threw it at his back as he walked down the driveway. You head into town to the only place that is still open. You take your order of spinach paneer and naan and eat it all by yourself in the parking lot.

The pool. The kids' popsicles. Her bikini. His eyes. Your collection of Bombay Sapphire bottles lined up in the kitchen window.

Crushed blackberries heaped on fresh biscuits. Dusk in the backyard and shooting stars. Junebugs diving clumsily into his daughterís hair, their thorny legs tangling in the fine blonde strands, and she is screeching and smashing and dancing around like a madman. Juneís over for Christís sake! her mother yells to nobody and for no real reason, and you have to smile because itís not your problem.

Grape Kool-Aid splash on the cream leather sofa. The small bruise just below the wristbone. The small bruise just above the eyebrow. She hasn't said a word all day. You give her a small bag of ube-filled crackers you bought at the market. "What the hell is ube?" she asks. "Just eat them," you say. "Just eat the damn things."

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

Melissa is probably knitting something, cleaning something or making something delicious as you read this. She blogs for the Canadian Writers Collective and

Read the interview.
Issue Nineteen (December 15, 2007): The Off-Season by Jami Attenberg «» A Company Function by Grant Bailie «» Food Spectrum of the Rainbow Family by Melissa Bell «» Holiday Inn by Kim Chinquee «» Killer Pair by Trinie Dalton «» What Happened to My Purple Flip-Flops by Arwen Dewey «» Truth (ii) by Ben Ehrenreich «» How 9) Strange by Laird Hunt «» The Mess You Made in Us by C. Robin Madigan «» Red Brick by Darlin' Neal «» A Boy Not Born Yet by Tori Malcangio «» Taco Foot by Jack Pendarvis «» Boyandaquarter by Ben Stein «» Teec Nos Pos (Circle of Cottonwoods) by Beth Thomas «» Music from 1975 by Benjamin Weissman «» Interviews: Jami Attenberg «» Grant Bailie «» Melissa Bell «» Kim Chinquee «» Trinie Dalton «» Arwen Dewey «» Ben Ehrenreich «» Laird Hunt «» C. Robin Madigan «» Tori Malacangio «» Darlin' Neal «» Jack Pendarvis «» Jim Ruland «» Ben Stein «» Beth Thomas «» Benjamin Weissman «» Cover Art "Desire" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor
bottom menu