Appian Gift

By Nathaniel Mellor

I washed the Appian way from my sandals in a bidet. The straw went first, followed closely by the smalls stones embedded into the sole. Reddish-tan soil was the last to go. Hours of walking under the sun baked it into the straps.

We went without a plan, but we brought food. A handsome appreciation acknowledging the ease in which we tempt disaster. Pieces of onion from our focaccia found themselves on the ground.

I backed away from the large tree, our protector, offer-er of shade and peace, to see the sky. I imagined it to be blue; the haze made it gray, like a storm that will never come to pass.

It’s not often I have, in my hand, a ringing bird’s feather; green, once belonging to a parakeet, now mine. Or still the parakeet’s, just it’s in my hand now. A soft kiss, whispered wish, I release it.

Nathaniel Mellor is a short story writer and poet who lives in Southern Italy. He has work published or forthcoming in Willawaw Journal, Second Chance Lit, and Henshaw Press. He is the current fiction editor of Pigeon Review. You can find him on Twitter @MellorNathaniel.