Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
Off Mulberry Lane
by Janet Jennings
It wasn't the house that matteredóranch-style, suburban, half moon drive. It was the room connected by an isthmus at one end.
Navy and burgundy bars on the walls, lake blue carpet. They let me out to go to school. I don't know what's going on inside your head, my mother said.
Twin bed by the only window. Blue quilt with yellow flowers. Locked white trunk at the foot. Ivers & Pond upright in one corner.
The window stayed open even in winter. Even when it rained. I climbed out barefoot into the dark.
One night I found a recipe for mulberry wine. Summer was close. Crickets thrummed in the heat. I crushed the mulberries by hand. Whisked in honey, ginger, yeast, water. A potion cooked to boiling. Cooled. Strained. Streamed into six green wine bottles rescued from the trash and corked. Left to ferment in my closet.
Inside the bedroom, behind sliding closet doors, the bottles exploded after a week. I came home from school to a reek that pounded on walls. High brix sweet decay, bubbling violet lake, splintered glass. My parents were in Europe. The babysitter said nothing.
Janet Jennings lives in San Anselmo, California, with her husband and twin daughters. For twenty years she owned and ran Sunspire, a natural candy manufacturing company.
Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Agni (online), Apalachee Review, Atlanta Review, The Bitter Oleander, Bryant Literary Review, California Quarterly (CQ), Connecticut Review, Limestone, Poet Lore, Runes: A Review Of Poetry, and Sierra Nevada Review, among others.
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