Onions – Viannah Duncan

after Naomi Nye


My grandfather,

my mother’s father,

used to eat onions

like apples.

He’d make a bushel

by tying the long stalks

together and then he’d hang

them on the porch.


he’d “pick” one

and, after peeling it,

eat it

whole and raw.


My uncle,

my mother’s brother,

went to work with my grandfather

a couple of summers in a row.

(Grandfather worked in an oil field.)

Once, on the way out the door,

my uncle picked an onion

from the bushel

and ate it

like an apple

like my grandfather.

It was good, he said,

but all he could taste

for a week after that

was onion.


I would never scold the onion

for causing that,

especially since my uncle

couldn’t seem to decide

if tasting only onion

for a whole week

was a good thing

or not.