A girl, wheat-stalk slim, dances with the wind in a sunny meadow. Her only garments, a summer dress made of stratus, and the dark veil of her hair. She pirouettes, languid as water, from the sway of her hips to the flow in her arms. The black stream flies to and fro as her fingers flutter like butterflies. She is all movement, her face composed. The world is full of the breeze, birdsong, and her breathing. Her lean legs leap into the air with antelopian grace and meet the field at full force. She stamps with purpose onto the floor of flowers. She smashes down daylilies and asters, crushing yarrow as easily as daisies. She doesn’t ponder the pain in her bare feet nor the ache of her body. She hopes to smite out insects, as if destroying a small living thing would end the feeling of smallness inside her. As if taking life would rectify her own loss. Face flushed from the frenzy, she concentrates on the music in her head. Step. Spin. Step. Stride. Sigh. Soar. Sigh. Set. She should be happy, doing what she loves. Joy incarnate. But she dances to forget, to put off remembering. As long as she’s moving, out there in the sunlight, she’ll be fine.
Stephen Jackman’s work can be found in Burnt Pine Magazine and Ellipsis Zine: One.