Alex Patriquin

Marginalia & found poetry. Short fiction and other projects. Musings  on startups. Photos from NYC and travels.

The Penny Method

Within a week, the preacher’s wife visited the house, invited in an oblique fashion by Lucy’s grandfather having mentioned the need to a neighbor man who told his wife, whose cousin attended church. The preacher’s wife arrived, nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Her husband waited in the car. Lucy’s grandfather stood outside and the men nodded to each other across the dusky yard but didn’t speak, each feeling pastured away from women’s business. The preacher’s wife laid out the facts as best she understood them, then gave Lucy a penny for birth control. In the company of men, Lucy was to hold the penny between her knees and never let it fall. For now, Lucy should take aspirin and lie in bed until her monthlies went away. It was an unclean time, and Lucy was to read the Bible, avoid handling raw meat or standing in direct moonlight. 

from The Blue Zoo by Chris Offutt