Mar/Apr 2021 • Vol. XLIII No. 2 March 1, 2021 |

Mouthwater

2020 Kenyon Review Short Nonfiction Contest Runner-up I. August It has the texture of cum, she says, laughing slightly. Every now and then, when the conversation lulls to the point of breakage, she picks up her spoon and dips it into the bowl. The rice that clings to it is speckled with vanilla and aggressively sweet. When she slides the metal from her mouth, traces of her saliva form pale webs on its surface; she laughs again and shakes her head, fixing her eyes on the back of her utensil. As if the saliva is a tea reading, or a Rorschach inkblot splattered across her future, or anything other than the halfhearted joke that just slipped her mouth, a silver fish wriggling in the sand. The ambiguity hangs heavy and low. Sometimes I confuse it for the hum of the air-conditioning in this small, cramped apartment where the walls have been painted white and the floors refurbished to create the illusion of space. The first time I made the five-story pilgrimage to her doorstep, I began

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece



Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.
Kenyon Review logo
Stella Li is a student at West Windsor–Plainsboro High School North in New Jersey. An alumna of the 2019 Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop and an editor of Ephimiliar Journal, she has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the National Poetry Quarterly, and her mother, among others.

Read More

Subscribe

Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.

Donate

With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.