Sunday Stories: “A Box of Incense”


A Box of Incense
by John Yohe

Gift from a woman he tried to become intimate with, which he felt could have been good—ie perverted—since supposedly she was into that but she was also into talking non-stop about her ex-boyfriend and despite that failure they continued to say hello at the café, talk about teaching, and she asked him to make comments on a grant proposal, which she used.

Some weeks went by, she got the grant and asked how she could pay him back. He thought of something but instead said not to worry about it and since buying him dinner would have required talking to her, or her talking to him, or at him, she finally gave him the incense, sticks and cones, because he’d told her he was meditating again, except he’s actually mildly allergic to smoke of any kind so the box sits on a window sill in his apartment, red, with the plastic still on.


Born in Puerto Rico, John Yohe grew up in Michigan and lives in Oregon. He has worked as a wildland firefighter, deckhand/oiler, bike messenger, wilderness ranger and fire lookout. Fiction Editor for Deep Wild Journal.

Photo: Rumman Amin/Unsplash

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