My mother says if you brush your teeth after eating berries, you will harm them. You have to wait half an hour. Also, she says the average person eats over a pound of bugs per year without even knowing it, mostly in baked goods and cereal. She loves facts about food. Castoreum, she says, is a secretion from the anal glands of beavers, and they use it in flavorings. Which flavorings? I ask. She says vanilla. So I stop eating vanilla. And cereal, and anything with flour (because of the bugs). Also, berries (to spare the teeth) and in fact all fruit, which she says is sprayed with pesticides. And jello, which she said comes from the skin and bones of pigs. Not to mention meat, which is killing the planet. No wasting, she says, when I scrape my full plate into the trash. But I cannot help wasting. Food is perilous and tainted. Contaminated in ways you cannot see. One must not eat it, I tell the doctor from my hospital bed, for it can kill you.

Micro by Jayna Locke

Image by Adam Strong

Jayna Locke is a Minnesota writer with roots in the Northwest, who has also lived in California and the Northeast, and loves to infuse her stories with a sense of place. She earned her MFA from the University of New Hampshire. Her work has appeared in Portage Magazine, in Bright Flash Literary Review, and in two short story anthologies, and will be published in an upcoming edition of Great Lakes Review. She is reachable through her website,, or on Twitter at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s