Rinse the beets in the deep metal sink and they lose their dark sleeping color and wake up red. Hack off the stems and the long leggy roots and the thing bleeds bright as a buzzing neon sign shouting OPEN OPEN OPEN. My mouth catches the blinking open beet before I know it, the red-pink color like ditch poppies blooming. Tonight is the homecoming dance and I want to stain my lips, flush my cheeks with beet juice blood in my yellow dress and ponytail. Let him talk behind his hands in his cotton church clothes when he spies me carrying a bouquet armful of bright beetroot, seeping its grown smell, shedding its downy root hairs. I’ll be smeared with harvest sweat, swatting biting bugs that hatched underground.
from BEETROOT by Lindsey Gates-Markel in Sundog Lit issue 4, out today.
All big thanks to fiction editor Leyna Krow and managing editor Justin Daugherty for choosing this little piece.