Friday, May 18, 2012

my soul to keep

She did not seem to be seeking to create a life of her own; one day a tinker appeared, selling the refuse of society and seeking odd jobs, and he stayed, and she bore a son. The child, like his mother, saw the tigers as his playfellows, and spent his days under the haphazard oversight of the aging grandfather and tigers. The tinker stayed, the woman watched the land go through another winter, another long, hot summer; she felt the wind pick up the melancholy of the approaching autumn, and she knew that it was time to step fully into her identity, into the future.

The village had never quite accepted these newcomers, saw an old man, a silent, foreign daughter, a tinker, as evidence that the world is unforgiving, and not to be trusted. No one knew, for certain, about the tigers, but there were rumors and suppositions and stories. Children were warned to keep their distance, and teenagers dared one another to approach the land, the family that they feared and disapproved of. There was no vandalism, no larceny, no arson, for there was too much uncertainty about the mysterious powers of these strangers. When deliveries began, large vans with markings in foreign script on their side, no one knew what it might be, but in the conservatism endemic to their habits, they worried and disapproved and wondered. The deliveries continued: by lorry, by wagon, by train, strangers with heavy beards and hats with gold braid bringing any number of questionable unknowns to this quiet outpost on the fringe of the forest.

May 12, 2012
reading in the sunshine of a perfect May afternoon