Onions

Paul Hetherington

We took hundreds of photos but the house would not belong. Lazily it fell across the hillside like a lounging dog and would not acknowledge us. Nights of sleepless talk, days of struggling on stony roads and pebbly ground. But we bought small, sweet onions, making a pie. Dark-crusted in the dish it was a key to the house, expanding its rooms. We learned the lie of a concave sofa, stopped quizzing the cold; our bones began to warm. Hilly ground held trails we gradually recognised. Autumn fell on the place; we felt the season between toes. You said it was a miracle—onions, baking, washing, digging, walking the rounds. Feet on earth, words like bladed tools. You picked up a head of purplish broccoli. And this, you said, beauty that sits in the hand.

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