Flash fiction by Michelle Elvy

A Midsummer Night’s Shore

Coasting, gently coasting. Our sailing skiff moves purposefully parallel to the shore. A sandbar juts out, and canvas claps as we tack away. A heron wheeling low near shallows, to port. We tack again, and you say, Going in closer, and grin, Puck-like.

Sliding the skiff along mud bottom, we come to a gentle halt. Squishing feet, wet marsh. I feel the chill of a cooler west wind and wonder why we don’t just stay a while on this safe shore, but you snap your shot, and click click squish squish, you’re suddenly finished and push off again. You stow your Canon, tack out and then we’re gone. You’re a man with a plan.

I look back and spy the heron: still shadow and sorrow, offending no one and standing for everything. He lifts his slow wings and flies low and sure: wanderer of the night.

My wants are a blue-grey ghost, gliding along mudflat, too close to shore, too close to night.

Now, moonrise. Another sandy spit. We rub bottom.




– published originally in Headland #3, July 2015

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