Because Endings Can Be Beautiful
(after Autumn Thoughts, Arnold Böcklin, 1886)
Others call it scrying, but she prefers hydromancy, with its echoes of romance, because endings can be beautiful, she says, as she stares through her reflection into the river’s depths. Wrapped in blue by the artist’s brush, her words and thoughts are speculation, yet, somewhere, as October shows its age, a woman, buttoned up against the cold, is led by her shrapnel heart to the water’s edge, where a silver birch scatters winged seeds on the still surface, before it un-leaves to bear winter’s freeze. She casts a pebble in, and sees, in the ripples it makes: warm breath on a frosted window, a wedding band, never exchanged, the secret rings in heartwood, revealed by the hewer’s saw.
Jan Harris lives in Nottinghamshire and writes poetry, flash fiction and short stories. Her work has appeared in places such as Litro Magazine, Mslexia, Envoi and Acumen.