by E.M. Killaley


In years past, she would have added chunks of chicken, large-diced carrots and egg noodles, but now she slices the vegetables thin. They float on the surface of the broth like tiny wooden rafts, navigating through bubbles of oil when she stirs the pot.

From the living room she hears her make a noise.

‘Just a few more minutes,’ she calls in response.

The steam is laced with basil and oregano, and she inhales its balm as she sips a spoonful. It has just a hint of a peppery bite.

‘That’ll do it,’ she says to herself.

Her mother taught her the recipe, the way to sling the roughly washed and chopped vegetables into the pot, draping them with the limp chicken carcass; the patience of boiling it all down, hours devoted to the saffron-colored base. But it was this stock that flowed through the years of her life — feeding her family on cold, wet days, soothing their colds, and warming their bellies. She knew it was not a remedy, but at least it would soothe.

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