SmokeLong Quarterly

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Memory of Sky

Story by Jai Clare June 15, 2006

Now she says it’s the springing, and it happens when the memory of sky is most buried, most distant, most like something that’s never been, when it pushes at what should be.

It was an act of defiance. Buried slowly, carefully at darkfall, at winter born, at death’s birth. They say she followed her thoughts and desires and vanished beneath.

Buried so deep no one can see it and now in the springing the ground pushed water tumbles from the moor like acrobatics. The water gathers beneath her and she can touch it with her finger damp side, the mould of the autumn’s leavings. And the memory of sky is like a story told to keep the heart warm. So deep the memory of sky.

The ground swells, makes her itch, the ground bubbles, the ground growls, full of beetles, the ground floods, forming in dark speckles and then they’re gone. (A memory of sky.)
The water pushes up, she lifts her hands to the ceiling, to the coverings, to the dampness of burial. She lifts her hands, feels herself being pushed.

And yet the memory of sky is so radiant she is blinded in darkness. A memory coruscated in halos. The water bubbles and pushes.

At first she tries to stop it, the springing, she bounces on the ground, not wanting to glimpse light, feel light burning her face, sky descending through holes to trap her, (the sky memory as distant as summer) but when the force becomes too strong she relaxes, drifts, lets nature take her (once she saw a bird in here and pushed it back); it is the time of the springing, thoughts of growing, movement in expanse, an inch of revelation like a reverse strip tease.

Loosening of body, a drift of acceptance against the comfort of darkness and the mesmer of light. She lifts, arms open, and the layers break down, upward, head into holes, the loosening of water. The ground bubbles into memory of sky. Water tumbles into the dried scraped waterway. A reunion.

Through a tiny hole, the water springs bubbles tumbles gurgles like a child. And she is sliding, slithering into the outside mask (the memories of sky colliding). The mask locks, solidifies a rictus smile, a calcification of survival. A thin reed of sound. She is out. (The striking of sky.)

Bubbles to the waterway, waterway to stream, to brook, brook races off rock, through fords to rivers, the river slow, wind-scurried, reed-filled, bird-heard, past boats and fields and marshes and lost tumble-down houses to vastness of sea widening to the horizon of sky.

About the Author

Jai Clare lives in southwest England and has been published in The London Magazine, Agni, The Barcelona Review, Bonfire, Nemonymous, Pedestal Magazine, and Night Train, amongst others. She’s pursuing a PhD. at The University of Gloucestershire and maintains a website at www.jaiclare.co.uk and a litblog at www.thecuspofsomething.blogspot.com.

This story appeared in Issue Thirteen of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Thirteen

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