Now This

I’d already washed smoke out of my hair for the day, now this. The one who usually roasted the pig was sick so the rest of us had to guess how, and we lit enough charcoal to cook four. Poor blackened body, eyeless, loosing its liquid fat onto flame that burned for hours. Before dinner we buried it, still smoking, its skin flaking like mica, in the woods. We bore it on a litter we’d fashioned from a tent. When we got back we ate cold rolls spread with ketchup, and when that wasn’t enough we spread them with barbeque sauce and crumbled potato chips. When that wasn’t enough each of us turned to our own hands, hesitantly at first, then taking pleasure in the unexpected flavor we found there, sweet and smoky and not unlike things we had tasted before.

Kathryn Scanlan’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in NOON, The Collagist, Caketrain, and Quick Fiction, and she was recently announced the winner of the 2010 Iowa Review Fiction Award. She is the nonfiction editor of MAKE Magazine and director of Lake Opeka, a conceptual artist residency program. She was educated at the University of Iowa and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.