Fiction    Reading Room    Memoir    Interview


(after ‘Black Jack Davey’ - trad. song)
He rides up, whistling, charms her heart,
she goes off with him – just like that.
Her shoes get left behind, the expensive ones
with heels, her baby and husband also.
She was bored in the feather bed
and he had a horse – let’s say
it had chocolate hide
and impatient eyes, enough
to make her forget how itchy
her skin gets sleeping on straw.


When you leave, the land goes on
without you. She used to walk
down a dusty road and listen to wind
in the poplars. The leaves were yellow
when she left. Her husband rode after her,
wanting her back. Her friends worried
he was so angry he’d chop her head off,
but she wouldn’t return.
Now the road is crowded with carts
and the poplars reach into the sky.
The listening she did, her light footsteps,
never existed.


Then she reached the place
where the next fifty years passed.
Her life is a song with many endings –
did she become a tavern owner,
a clever operator with a head for business,
or die quickly from a fever
caught from sleeping on mouldy straw?
Did her dreams cross at night,
blurring the husbands, mixing up
which man she left with?
O he rode up, charmed her heart,
and she was gone – just like that.
Johanna Aitchison
Michele Amas
Angela Andrews
Sarah Barnett
David Beach
Ken Bolton
Jenny Bornholdt
Rachel Bush
Mary Cresswell
Stephanie De Montalk
Cliff Fell
Tom Fitzsimons
Brian Flaherty
David Geary
Bernadette Hall
Kerry Hines
Andrew Johnston
Therese Lloyd
Iggy McGovern
Mary Macpherson  
Dora Malech
Vana Manasiadis
Emma Neale
Gregory O'Brien
Lucy Orbell
Zach Savich
Charlotte Simmonds
Marty Smith
Elizabeth Smither
Abby Stewart
Robert Sullivan
Jo Thorpe
Cath Vidler
Louise Wallace
Ashleigh Young

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