Monday 28 June 2021

'Harvest Moon' by Rachel Canwell

Under a harvest moon, with his fingers twined in her hair, he makes promises she wants to hear but are not his to make.

They lie, backs against the church wall, the feet of the villagers dancing beyond them, muffled by the ground. Concealed only by a broken shadow and the drunkenness of others.

They laugh quietly, quickly. They kiss. And as they do her body and her breath diverge. Become suddenly unreal, wholly disconnected. The ground, the sky and stars, rush past and round. Instantly both muted and brilliantly bright.


She feels the boy’s hands on her skin, moving, exploring with a slow but gentle determination. The briefest pause at her breast, then waist. She laughs, lifts her hips. So the boy continues.

And as his fingers fumble with broken buttons, then begin to lift her skirts, she tries to fix a thought. 

Just one.


To peel back the day, to find the girl she was that morning.


As she returns his hungry kisses, his laughter reflected in her eyes, part of her reaches silently for the ordinary, the mundane. To breathe again the sour tang of the dairy, feel the farmyard cobbles under foot. To anchor herself to the girl she was. 

But it seems that girl is gone.


This strange unreal day, cloaked in country magic has chased her far away.


She has never had this before. She won’t mention this in her weekly letter home.

No one dances or brays with laughter in the cottage by the marsh.


No one winks like the boy by the barrel. With his hand in the air and his eyes straight ahead. 

It is the beginning of the drift. Of something coming loose. 

And as they lie with limbs entwined, the farmer sees her. 

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