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by Chella Courington

Not short, not tall. Maybe 5’5” with lips like Cupid’s bow ready to inflict anyone who stopped long enough to watch her move from table to table. A tray of red grapes and almonds slightly salted balanced on her right palm. The villagers thought her a gypsy child, left in a wicker basket at the vintner’s door though he never said yea or nay. She slept in the back room on a featherbed because the vintner cared for her like his own flesh and blood, the girl he never had because his wife died in childbirth. He harvested and planted while offering her goat’s milk until her bones were stronger than his and she joined him among the vines. Kneeling in the dirt. At night on the vineyard bench, they held hands and watched the stars. She felt the roughness of his skin and saw his shoulders slope to the ground. Brought him a cup of grappa and black bread before sleep. Then she reached for the moon. Holding it in her left palm as he slipped into the dark.

Chella Courington is a writer and teacher. With a PhD in American and British Literature and an MFA in Poetry, she is the author of four flash fiction chapbooks and five poetry chapbooks. Her stories and poetry appear in numerous anthologies and journals including SmokeLong Quarterly, Nano Fiction, The Los Angeles Review, and The Collagist. Her new chapbook of flash fiction (What Women Do) is available in a trilogy with two other writers — Diane Payne and Lana Spendl. Available at Blue Lyra Press http://bluelyrareview.com/blue-lyra-press and Amazon.