We couldn’t stop eating them—black, wrinkled, cured. Deep and complex, complementing French bread, sweet butter, honey, café au lait for breakfast
in the mornings. Later, we’d walk the medina, its winding streets, venture to the waterfront to feast on fresh shrimp and flounder.
The cats there did not have plush coats. Matted fur and loose skin hung from their bones as they howled for scraps from fishermen.
I bought presents for friends and family—purple and red silk scarves interwoven with gold strands. The shop wrapped them up
with their business cards on top, ones you later snipped off without asking. You said it was offensive how they wanted to advertise.
We stopped at a barber’s. You got a shave, the old-fashioned kind with a straight razor. One misstep and there would be blood.
We came so close.
I’m searching for those olives now, this cold and snowy Chicago winter. I want to tear back memory, savor velvet flesh.
I want sunlight to warm me as it filters strong through ice-crusted windows. I want to watch the mound of ebony pits
grow on my kitchen table as I scrape the bits, the last bits of salty earth from the stones with my teeth.
-- Sarah A. Rae’s publications include her chapbook, Someplace Else (dancing girl press, 2020), and poems in On A Wednesday Night (University of New Orleans Press, 2019.) Other work has appeared in Burlesque Press, fieralingue, Solamente en San Miguel, the Mexican journal Revista Blanco Y Negro, and elsewhere. Her translations of poems by the Mexican poet Guadalupe Ángela may be found in the online journal Ezra. A native of Champaign, Illinois, she has worked as a high school educator in the Chicago area, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Orleans.