Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts
Fiction   /   Nonfiction   /   Poetry

The Lemon Juice Alphabet

by Julie Kane


Every time it was the same: the moment she realized she was holding and reading the page she’d been trying to bring back all her life, it would suddenly catch fire like the secret messages she and her best friend had penned to each other in fifth grade with a watercolor brush dipped in lemon juice, invisible until she held one over the blue-and-orange ring of a gas stove, then suddenly alive with ghostly letters of the alphabet she was just beginning to make out when a lick of flame shot up and the sheet ignited, whoosh, and she had to let go and watch it burn to blackened scraps on the stove top next to a plastic-wrapped plate of her friend’s grandmother’s kolaches, those hardened lumps of dough brought back from another vanished world.