Tomato Menace and Floral Rabbit, Jury St. Judge
Nothing’s a secret once you know about it. The jewel beetles became a regularity in the kitchen. The first was the color of a geode’s guts, translucent purple. It sipped from the lavender-licorice tea you left out. You’d forgotten about your tea while on the phone with your cousin, when you raced off to look up how to legally change your name (Pallas or Mo?). The beetle met you under the wink of night. Once your pulse slowed from canary levels, the beetle let you pet it. With two fingers. It was warm, as if you had just released it from cupped palms.
You learned not to crack the window—the beetles didn’t need help, thank you very much—and not to make Irish tea without milk. One lapis lazuli beetle resented that. Onyx, emerald, opal, ruby, aquamarine. Golden legs and veined wings, injected with ichor. Otherworldly. The geode beetle liked the name Pallas for you, but you let it keep the name. You chose Mo for yourself, only you changed your mind later and didn’t change it after all. At night, under the hum of your kitchen lights, pincers clicked against ceramic, tiny toasts to old friends.
Laura Gruszka was a student at the University of Notre Dame and is currently attending Columbia University for her MFA in Fiction Writing. This piece first appeared in Re: Visions.
About the Artist
Jury S. Judge
Jury S. Judge is an internationally published artist, writer, poet, photographer, and political cartoonist. Her artwork has been widely featured in literary magazines such as Dodging The Rain, The New Plains Review, Claudius Speaks, and The Manhattanville Review. Her “Astronomy Comedy” cartoons appear in The Lowell Observer. She has been interviewed on the television news program, NAZ Today for her work as a political cartoonist. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BFA from the University of Houston-Clear Lake in 2014. This piece first appeared in Glass Mountain.