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Memory of Sky
by Jai Clare

Now she says itís the springing, and it happens when the memory of sky is most buried, most distant, most like something that's never been, when it pushes at what should be.

It was an act of defiance. Buried slowly, carefully at darkfall, at winter born, at death's birth. They say she followed her thoughts and desires and vanished beneath.

Buried so deep no one can see it and now in the springing the ground pushed water tumbles from the moor like acrobatics. The water gathers beneath her and she can touch it with her finger damp side, the mould of the autumn's leavings. And the memory of sky is like a story told to keep the heart warm. So deep the memory of sky.

The ground swells, makes her itch, the ground bubbles, the ground growls, full of beetles, the ground floods, forming in dark speckles and then they're gone. (a memory of sky.)
The water pushes up, she lifts her hands to the ceiling, to the coverings, to the dampness of burial. She lifts her hands, feels herself being pushed.

And yet the memory of sky is so radiant she is blinded in darkness. A memory coruscated in halos. The water bubbles and pushes.

At first she tries to stop it, the springing, she bounces on the ground, not wanting to glimpse light, feel light burning her face, sky descending through holes to trap her, (the sky memory as distant as summer) but when the force becomes too strong she relaxes, drifts, lets nature take her (once she saw a bird in here and pushed it back); it is the time of the springing, thoughts of growing, movement in expanse, an inch of revelation like a reverse strip tease.

Loosening of body, a drift of acceptance against the comfort of darkness and the mesmer of light. She lifts, arms open, and the layers break down, upward, head into holes, the loosening of water. The ground bubbles into memory of sky. Water tumbles into the dried scraped waterway. A reunion.

Through a tiny hole, the water springs bubbles tumbles gurgles like a child. And she is sliding, slithering into the outside mask (the memories of sky colliding). The mask locks, solidifies a rictus smile, a calcification of survival. A thin reed of sound. She is out. (The striking of sky.)

Bubbles to the waterway, waterway to stream, to brook, brook races off rock, through fords to rivers, the river slow, wind-scurried, reed-filled, bird-heard, past boats and fields and marshes and lost tumble-down houses to vastness of sea widening to the horizon of sky.

All content in SmokeLong Quarterly copyright 2003-2014 by its authors.

Jai Clare lives in southwest England and has been published in The London Magazine, Agni, The Barcelona Review, Bonfire, Nemonymous, Pedestal Magazine, and Night Train, amongst others. She's pursuing a PhD. at The University of Gloucestershire and maintains a website at and a litblog at

Read the interview.
Issue Thirteen (June 15, 2006): A Foreign Woman by Roberta Allen «» Fetichismo by Christopher Battle «» How the Broken Lead the Blind Until They Both Become Something Else Entirely by Matt Bell «» See Odi Naked by Lisa K. Buchanan «» Memory of Sky by Jai Clare «» The Captain by Ron Currie, Jr. «» Bingham by Steve Cushman «» The Table by David Erlewine «» Daffodil by Kathy Fish «» Fishing by Mike Hagemann «» Real Estate by Jennifer A. Howard «» Emily Avenue by Jeff Landon «» Tough Act by Steven J. McDermott «» Cheering by Srdan Papic «» Something Blew by Ellen Parker «» Euclid's Elements by Mary Lynn Reed «» Miracle by Chad Simpson «» Her Lips by Claudia Smith «» Man and Dog by Girija Tropp «» Randomization by Joseph Young «» Interviews: Roberta Allen «» Matt Bell «» Lisa K. Buchanan «» Jai Clare «» Ron Currie, Jr. «» Steve Cushman «» Katrina Denza «» David Erlewine «» Kathy Fish «» Mike Hagemann «» Jennifer A. Howard «» Jeff Landon «» Steven J. McDermott «» Srdan Papic «» Ellen Parker «» Mary Lynn Reed «» Chad Simpson «» Claudia Smith «» Girija Tropp «» Joseph Young «» Cover Art "Despair" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor
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