FathomOnline

 

 Fathom 2001

Cover

 

Inside Cover

 

Poetry

Gillian Brown (2)
Jessica Moore (2)
Annie Clifford
Paromita Admikari
Erin Whitmore
Wesley J. Furlotte
Aaros
Morgan Dambergs
Angelene T. Hutt (2)
Laura Kingdon
Sarah “Felloway” Feltham
Lauren Kirshner
Stephen O’Brien
Solange Hupe (2)
Nicholas Munroe
Steven Wendland

Prose

Valentyna Galadza
Neil Terry

Drawings and Photos

Marybeth Carty (3)
Emily Comeau
Jessica Moore (2)
Peter Herbert Langille (2)

[PDF]

Valentyna Galadza

 

 

The Cabbage

Every Saturday morning Henry Fink rises early. Not to read the paper, or to drink coffee, or even to eat breakfast, as you may suspect. No, on Saturday mornings, Henry Fink has one goal, and one goal only. This goal, strong enough to raise an elderly man from his bed, is cabbage. Yes, cabbage. Henry Fink knows that at the market, at the third stand on the left hand side ­that is, the third stand from the main entrance, not the side entrance - at the third stand is Mr. Pojic.       

Mr. Pojic has a round face, almost as round as his wife’s. Actually Mr. and Mrs. Pojic look so similar that I could just as easily describe the pair as one, and you would find this description just as accurate and helpful in spotting the two Polish faces in the sea of market-goers on a Saturday morning. The Pojic face, as I have mentioned, is very round. The whitish-pink skin is pulled tightly over massively round cheeks, and a round bulbous nose, in keeping with its sur­roundings, hovers over a large fleshy pair of lips and an odd little chin. I say odd because it just barely distinguishes itself from the surrounding neck and cheeks. But I assure you, if you look hard enough, you will see that this chin is indeed there. This Pojic head is accented with dancing blue eyes and grey hair. I admit that here there is a difference between the Mr. and the Mrs. version of the Pojic. The Mr. has but a thin layer of fine feathers, which are either carefully combed into place or are covered by a little brown cap from the old country. The Mrs. has slightly more hair. Beneath her kerchief hides her carefully-set-in-curlers-last-night hairstyle. It does not occur to Mrs. Pojic that her styling efforts are in vain since a tightly tied kerchief hinders her coiffe. She began setting her hair when she was seventeen, the year she married Mr. Pojic, and every night since then she’s done her hair in this fashion.

But I have strayed from the cabbage. I will return, but first...Mr. and Mrs. Pojic’s round heads sit atop round, corpulent bodies which, too, are remarkably similar in configuration. Truly a marvel, these Pojics. One day you should go see them for yourself. You can find them at the third stand from the main entrance of the Farmer’s Market, every Saturday morning. They sell cabbage.

This is the very same cabbage, sold by the very same Pojics, that compels Henry Fink to rise before the sun and make his way to the old historical stone building by the harbour. Henry Fink’s weekly visit is my no means an effortless jaunt. Do not forget Henry’s wonky right leg that stubbornly lags behind him. And call to mind as well that his small apartment is not nearly so close to downtown as it used to be, when his legs were so full of energy that it was all he could do to keep them from wandering impatiently wherever they pleased. That impatience has now given way to a calm, slow, step-wha-KONK, step-wha-KONK.

As today happens to be a Saturday morning, we find Henry Fink step-wha-KONKing down Main Street. In one hand he clutches his cane, and in the other is a crocheted bag, just big enough for one large Pojic cabbage. Henry won today’s race with the sun, as only now it is beginning to slowly infiltrate the city - to slither under doorways, and between the cracks of blinds where city dwellers are still asleep.

Henry Fink is, as far as he can see, the only man out walking at this early hour. He enjoys this solitary walk. Birds have assembled on the telephone wire above him. Crows. Their discordant melody is not only for the sun, but also for Henry. The name for a group of crows escapes him. Not gaggle; no, that’s geese.

Suddenly, two youngsters emerge from the tranquility. They whiz by Henry, robbing him of a breath and a heart beat, but only one of each, and only for a second. He stops to marvel at the couple who have already accelerated so far ahead that Henry must squint just to see them. My, how they seemingly glide over the sidewalk! Henry Fink has resumed his walking, and by his second KONK the pair is out of sight. They are about twenty, he guesses, not by their style of clothing or by the backpacks that they sported. No, Henry knows that they are about twenty simply by the way they carried themselves. They moved in unison with the attitude that they were the only two inhabitants of the world. Certainly twenty year olds; our Henry is now sure of it.

He wonders if they had noticed him, or the now awake sun, or the murder of screaming crows ­a MURDER! Yes, that’s it! Henry, pleased, touches his raised head as if by salute to the birds, and in return they squawk. They can’t very well salute back - no! They need both limbs on the
wire or else they would fall off.

Something strikes Henry as amusing, and he lets out a soft laugh. Even he is not sure if it is the image of a saluting crow, or a crow losing balance and falling from its perch.

The city is slowly beginning to wake up. Cars are scooting by with more frequency. Henry can hear the drapes - he still has excellent hearing - the drapes being pulled back. Yes, Henry Fink feels satisfied this Saturday morning. All is going well. Perhaps he does not realize it, but somewhere deep within him is the notion that none of this would happen - the harmonic waking of the world - without his own orchestration.

“But what of the cabbage?” you may be asking now. Well, the Pojics, having arrived very early this morning, have already placed Henry Fink’s cabbage on their small table. There are, of course, other cabbages, and even other vegetables on this very same stand (the third on the left). But they are not important. All that matters is Henry Fink’s cabbage. And there it sits, perched atop its fellow vegetables, waiting for our man to arrive.

 

last updated August 17, 2007 | © 2007 Fathom Publishing
poetry, prose, and artwork © individual authours | website created by Alana Paul