April 5, 2009

The Top of the Mountain
Ethel Rohan

Mother and I have never gotten along so well, now that she's dead. In death, she's never been happier: her sight, hearing, sanity, and vitality restored. Now she is all that I ever wanted her to be. She is everything she wanted to be.

We meet nights at the edge of a cliff, Mother alight in the dark, knee-deep in bright red poppies and infused with the smell of wildflowers. She is tall now, lean, dark and glittering, only her skin marble-ivory. I recall her body's softness, its powdery scent.

I bring her news, jokes, and my troubles. We don't gossip or argue, done with poison. Everything I want discarded Mother tosses over the cliff, into the bottomless gorge.

We do not touch. There will be no more scars.

We dance, floating as if it's ice, not damp earth, beneath our bare feet. In her presence, like this, I feel brave and beautiful, beloved. She feels the same. We never say it, but regret is there, solid as a third dancer.

Some night, when we're back to the beginning and it's just the two of us again, we will dance right off that mountain together. We will soar.


Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Ethel Rohan now lives in San Francisco. She received her MFA in fiction from Mills College, CA. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from over thirty online and print journals including DecomP; Cantaraville; Word Riot; Identity Theory; mud luscious; Clockwise Cat; Ghoti Magazine, and the Journal of Truth and Consequence. Her blog is here.

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