Meg Pokrass

My man is allergic to onions now: white, purple, red, and pearl. His intolerance of all things oniony has shot up to one-hundred percent. To cure himself — he sips absinthe, bathes in filtered water mixed with two packets of lavender and a quarter cup of Pinesol cleaner. This is what the palmist suggested, and he follows her recipe.


Here is what the palmist tells me: He is allergic to me. His arms stretch around me but they would fit  better around a thinner woman, a woman about her size, no hips.


“He has salad cravings, a warning sign.”


Almost pretty, or once pretty… this palmist with black, black eyes.


She says to me, “Your spirit craves liver. And, I see an emblem of toxicity on your face.”


I say, “You are not a facialist.”


“I’m an emblem-detector,” she says.


Someone barks, probably a dog. I ask her how a man can be allergic to love.


She says  it has something to do with the programming of television these days, ads showing men running naked after models in bikini underwear through fields of clover.


“Yes, we are all on this chopping block,” I say (meaning all of us women), imagining what product the commercial she describes could possibly be for.


She asks me what we’re going to eat tonight for dinner, as though we are her sorry responsibility.


I tell her we’re planning to on go hog-wild on Rock Candy Mountain Fudge ice cream to celebrate something, and it is none of her fucking business what we are celebrating. She smiles smugly, as though she finally gets how toxic I really am.


I don’t tell her about this morning’s triumph; the doctor’s good news, that cancer is now gone from my body. How the doctor whispered it to me as though it were a sweet birthday secret.


I walk out of her room without saying goodbye.


In the foyer, my man is pacing and coughing aggressively. He’s adorable despite his hypochondria and endless jokes about dying. His curly blond hair is often damp and wilting.


I used to bring him, his entire face, so much good fortune.






Meg Pokrass is the author of Damn Sure Right, a collection of stories from Press 53. Her second collection, “Happy Upside Down” will be released in the Fall of  2013. Meg’s stories and poetry have appeared in PANK, McSweeney’s, The Literarian, storySouth, Smokelong Quarterly, Gigantic, Kitty Snacks, Wigleaf, The Rumpus, Yalobusha Review, Gargoyle, and Roadside Curiosities: Stories About American Pop Culture (University of Leipzig Press in conjunction with Picador, 2013). Meg’s flash fiction “Nights” was selected by author Dan Chaon for Wigleaf’s Top 50, 2012. Meg serves as an associate editor for Frederick Barthelme’s New World Writing, andlives in the foggiest part of San Francisco, where nobody can see anything. Meg’s website and information about her work can be found here: