Walks up back road, holding on to hat, what he calls a skimmer, sees first one horse then another. Walks on. Climbs gate, jumps, lands wonky. Heart is huge. The lake captivates a loosening rain cloud.
Thinks of twilight, privet hedges and a bookcase falling forward. Wishes for something. Raises hem out of the muck. Frayed lining drops, gets caught on a thorn, tears. Rain cloud pours down into the lake.
Walks down back road, holding on to hat, what she calls a boater, sees the second horse first. White. A white horse standing, looks this way, then turns. Gave birth in the meantime. Blood fresh all the way down hind legs, cord hangs. A black foal slides about nearby, tiny forehead opening a warm pale star. Heart lengthens; cord swings.
Removes hat and whispers something. Whispers something again. Looks back, envies the deluge, moves into the long grass. Lets a van pass by.
Claire-Louise Bennett’s short fiction and essays have been published in The Moth, The Irish Times, and other publications. She was awarded the inaugural White Review Short Story Prize in 2013. Pond is her first book. Bennett lives in Galway, Ireland.
From POND by Claire-Louise Bennett, to be published on July 12th, 2016 by Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2015 by Claire-Louise Bennett.