Rachele Salvini


The buzz of the TV at 5 in the morning does not wake her up. She lies on the sofa, her left arm hanging over. The white light of dawn spills on her face like milk, but she does not open her eyes. She’s cold. The red fleece blanket is on the floor.

Curled on it, he snores. Soft breaths in the silence.

She hears the TV speaker but does not listen.

This female orangutan is 42 years old and has been taking care of her cub for six.


The tiles of the floor are cold and pale, scattered with crumpled handkerchiefs like clouds on the winter sea. Between them, the vet’s number, scribbled on a yellow post. She feels his humid nose brushing against her fingers. She thinks she’s dreaming.

Maybe she’s getting used to his absence.

He may not be there in a few hours.

The orangutan is the primate that takes care of their cubs the longest, after us.

Rachele Salvini. Although she is based in Oklahoma, where she is doing her PhD in English and Creative Writing, she is an Italian student writing in English. She did her MA in London, UK. Her work in English has been published on Takahe Magazine, Erotic Review, Crack the Spine Magazine, Aerogramme Writers’ Studio and others. This short story was published on The Machinery India in 2017.