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Girl on the Rushes
By MTC cronin

for H W

Some things are more than a memory. The body carries them forward so they can keep inhabiting and forming the unknown shape of the present. Like the island which may or may not still be beautiful but it doesn’t matter because it was. The girl had a face you could live with for twenty, thirty years, and she would show me things on the bed of rushes. We agreed to be virtuous with each other and as time draped itself darkly around one moon and then the next the world filled and refilled. Every person in the town came with her to see my ship weep into the sea as it turned for the dawn. They waved and the morning birds answered as if their hands were invitations. When I left there the place started coming through the pores of my skin. In the last minute, on the rushes, she promised me with her eyes closed. Don’t live, she said, like many are tempted, as if the most questionable thing you can do is something for someone else.

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