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July 2015, vol 11 no 2

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Jonathan McKeown

The Ring

Before he had finished speaking, there was Rebekah.
Genesis 24:15

After dinner we take the path along the south bank. Beside us the river is a dark mirror and beyond the inverted tree-line the depths of its luminous sky. It is almost still – the night, undistorted by wind. Inner suburbia softened in street light. The sun’s absence and a little wine have restored equilibrium of the senses. A new ambience is emerging, spacious and intimate: the arterial flow of distant traffic ... the cry of a lapwing punctuating the course of the night river ... the pulse of crickets ... the echo of our own footsteps. It’s such a small thing, such a big thing. I feel the shape of it in my jacket pocket, turning it over and over, yet not knowing how to begin. But then remember a place – the place this path goes near ...

As if expecting us we find the little jetty waiting there on the edge of the pond, minding our place as it were, and for the second time we sit together on its timber decking.

This was where we first kissed. And when we parted I remember looking down at my work boots stepping through the humming clover like Gulliver, feeling strange, excited, apprehensive... But tonight, after the last volley of planes has rumbled out and the sky is still again, we find ourselves serenaded by a hidden chorus of crickets. Beyond the pond, surreal meringue-like peaks rise, glowing above dark shapes of parkland trees. “It feels weird,” I say, “asking a question that’s already been answered …”

two turrets
of a sleeping circus
deep in the marsh pond