Postcard prose – Issue 10 | September 2010
by Mandy Berman
The first day I meet the children, we sit in the dirt, on a flat ground beneath the rolling hills of beanstalks and maize and pumpkin patches, pulling bean pods from their stalks. The women and children laugh and talk in Timbuka. I sit and do my work. A girl with thin arms and full lips sits next to me, separating the brown bean pods and the green ones into two piles. We are quiet until I ask for her name.
Charity, she says.
That’s a very pretty name.
Thank you. Beside her is a plastic bowl, and she begins to place stray beans in it, ones that had fallen out of their pods.
How old are you, Charity?
I am twelve years old. Her English is measured and clear, a mix between the British accent she learned in school and the thick Malawian dialect, with its interchangeable r’s and l’s, its emphasis on the last letter of every word.
Do you have any brothers and sisters? This to me is a universal question to ask a twelve-year-old.
Yes, she says. I have five-ee.
Five! That’s a lot. Are any of them here? I point to the other children pulling bean pods from their stalks.
No, she says. There are no more.
I decide my first lesson will be on the past tense.
Read our current issue:
Eureka, California by Dena Afrasiabi
Marketplace by Hala Alyan
Two poems by Maria Apichella
Teksi! by Nigel Barto
On the way to Udhagamandalam II by C.S. Bhagya
An Evening in the Hamptons by Steven Borzynski
A Common Language by Leah Browning
Two poems by Jim Burke
Two poems by Dalton Day
A Clip from Tomorrow by Alex Greenberg
Homecoming by Dana Guthrie Martin
Body-threaded by Liz L. Lyon
Late Summer by Anina Robb
Three Poems by R L Swihart
Amsterdam II : Scarring the Plate by Rimas Uzgiris
Saw Instrumental by Henry Walters
The Pink Apartment by Pui Ying Wong
Numbers by Sonny Z.