Gone Lawn
a journal of word-things
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Gone Lawn 53
wolf moon, 2024

Featured artwork, Within Grasp, by Jacelyn Yap

new works

Nilufer Nazli

Story of the Seed

When this seed sprouts, you’ll become pregnant. That’s what the healer said. The couple planted the seed in an empty yogurt cup, watered it just right, and placed it in a warm, sunny corner of the kitchen. They lighted a candle every night, prayed hand in hand, and sprinkled handfuls of pink salt.
It was a plum seed, the one she almost choked on. This is a sign, she thought, at almost forty, with an undying love for her partner, and for having children. This is the time to act, there might not be many fertile tomorrows left.
So they went to Şahmeran, the great healer, half snake, half human, that knows of the ways of the nature, how it all works, how to interpret signs of the universe. Living inside the caves, tucked away from humanity, a known but hidden secret reality, Şahmeran took one look at the plum seed and one look at her, she already knew the story. Her skin was rough, her raven black hair glowy. Everywhere, on the floor, there were snakes, and dry herbs and a dizzying, intoxicating smell coming from another world.
Nothing happened for a couple of days, no sprouts, they doubted the so-called wisdom of Şahmeran. Maybe the woman doesn’t click with snake-humans, her body not suitable for the double tongued seedlings. That’s okay, they will try another way, while taking good care of her body, wrapping it up in moist cotton wool, eating the right food, all the nutrients, walking, exercising, taking in the sun, no alcohol, or strange herbs, or raw food that she fancies sometimes, positive feelings and vitamins, folic acid to begin with.
After a fortnight, they went back deep into the dark cavern. Sensing the couple’s misgivings, protective of their mistress, the snakes crawled to the corner, and curled into one another, ready to mesmerize and bewilder.
“You’re in a hurry, aren’t you? Try putting your mother out of your head, your body’ll catch on,” Şahmeran blew into a bowl of flames, embers glowed and burned out, so did Şahmeran’s face.
Her mother didn’t know about the seed business, probably she wouldn’t have approved. Though it was highly likely that she would have looked the other way in this case. She had her at forty, never able to reconcile with being a late mother, scared of old age, having left with a short amount of time with her daughter, always melancholic craving for grandchildren that she wouldn’t live long enough to enjoy. As the daughter, she was facing a similar fate, her mother would have planted the seed with her own hands if she had the chance.
Şahmeran floated on top of her hissing snakes, a cloud of haze followed her out of the inner cave.
“If you can’t put your mother out of your head, then put your mother inside your body. Here you go,” she dropped a bundle of herbs with the instructions. Steep these at seventy degrees Celsius, make the mother drink the tea, collect the ovaries, consume them. Then the seed will sprout, you’ll become pregnant.
Weeks of discussions, neither sprouts nor pregnancy, led them to listen to Şahmeran. No other methods of conceiving had become fruitful, they had tried IVF until they ran out of savings, modern medicine had failed them. So the woman made the tea, and her mother agreed to drink it.
Collection of ovaries was performed in the night while her mother was in deep sleep. They waited for a while, periodically checking under her sheets. Şahmeran’s tea did its trick in a couple of hours, her mother’s already shrunk postmenopausal ovaries barely hold in place by weak, chicken bone ligaments that lost all of their elasticity dried up completely and fell down from her uterus peeling off worn out uterus lining, dark brown from oxidation of blood.
Shriveled ovaries lying on the sheets had the texture of a mushroom, like the gills right under their caps. She touched them, they were rubbery with a little bounce to them. A palatable way to consume them would be to bake, she cut them into slices and put them into a plum cake, her mother’s recipe.
Next day, plum seed sprouted, she was pregnant.

Nilüfer Nazlı is a fiction writer who obsessively analyzes the mundane and its magical transformation to human experience. Often combining her abstract watercolors with her weird flash fiction stories, she creates unique moods and atmosphere. She is also an experienced Machine Learning Engineer always on the side of human originality and creativity.