PETRICHOR

by Shideh Etaat

fisherman? not what I think of when I think love, more like the smell of guts, or

wet boots.  let’s say I met a fisherman from Ecuador and in three days I could

say something like I love you.


in Peru on the beach, so close to the equator, it all unraveled, over broken

coconuts mango skins cheap rum hangovers, he pointed out

birds to me, asked me if I knew why they were flying around in circles above

us, told me things only fishermen know.


in between sandy sheets, I asked him about the scars along

his shoulders where I lay my head,

and in the quiet of a room with only a mattress


and a toilet he told me how his younger brother died. how he didn’t. but there

was still this scar, like a burnt mountain or a big empty hole inside the earth,

inside the skin of him,


and I wanted to say – how beautiful, but instead I went to sleep and hoped that

the stars wouldn’t go out just because I had shut my eyes.


I kept changing my bus ticket to the next day, and then the next, because I

started to believe that home meant wanting to let someone grow things inside

of you. but what did I know?


except that petrichor is the name for the smell released into the air after a first

rain, and that certain mushrooms can only


grow in soil that has just been badly burned. I’d be happy if I was a fish,

I think.


he took me to the ocean to say farewell, because love shouldn’t be written in

stone, but in water, and I walked along the shore like a drunken peacock.


am I beginning now? I wanted to ask him, but

instead I waited for him to not kiss me goodbye, and watched as the hungry

birds still

circled above us


by Shideh Etaat

January 26, 2011 | Posted in: Fiction | Comments Closed

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