Aubergine by David Holper You can tell its ripeness by the deep lush purple of the skin, the tight, taut feel it has, so you can depress a finger into its flesh—and they will answer by welling into your fingerprint. They are clan of the nightshade family, their darker cousins. My father used to cook them up into baklazhannaya ikra, poor man’s caviar, and we feasted, knowing no better of the real thing. How light they are, in hand, after they turn. Much like the dead, after their spirits have fled. My father’s body only ash in the urn I held in hand. The boat paused, just near Sausalito, and I gazed out over the waters. How I had hated him, how I had loved him despite his anger, his scalding wit. How he loved to laugh at people to show them how little he thought of their pretenses. If he drank, be prepared, we’d say. If he smoked, it seemed he’d set the house on fire. The urn in my hand felt round and black as some bitter aubergine. Are there any words to forgive such things? I leaned out and poured those bits of bone and ash upon the waters, speechless, yes, but trying my damndest to empty him out of me forever.
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David Holper is a writer and poet. He served as the City of Eureka’s inaugural poet laureate (2019-2021). Holper has published several books of poetry, including “The Bridge” (SequoiaSong Publications) and “64 Questions” (March Street Press). He is currently working on his first novel.