Vanilla – Steven John

I found three bottles of vanilla essence in the kitchen cupboard
two of them out of date and one unopened
their dainty golden lids like the buttons on the dress you never liked.

Vanilla is the only useful member of the orchid family
the rest is compost, unless you count the flowers as having some ornamental value
It’s the second most expensive spice.

The vanilla bean is not a bean, it’s an elongate and fleshy pod
that stands phallically erect from the stem.
The pod ripens, aromatic and dehiscent, which means it splits and spills its seed.

I never made anything memorable with vanilla
The word ‘vanilla’ comes from the Spanish ‘vaina’ which translates as ‘sheath or pod’.
If ‘vaina’ had a letter ‘g’ you’d probably say it had its moments.

Vanilla flowers are pollinated by a species of sting-less bee, or hummingbirds
which makes it sound like a loving, non-invasive experience.
The flower opens in the morning sun and closes late in the afternoon
never to re-open.

Steven John’s writing has appeared in Burningword, Bending Genres, Spelk, Fictive Dream, EllipsisZine, Ghost Parachute and Best Microfiction 2019. He’s won Bath Ad Hoc Fiction a record seven times and has been nominated for BIFFY 2019. He lives in The Cotswolds, England. Steven is Fiction & Special Features Editor at New Flash Fiction Review. Twitter: @StevenJohnWrite Website:

Cabinet Of Heed Contents Link 26

Image via Pixabay

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