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A Slip in Time by SM Colgan

It crosses your mind that you should collect it. Curl your fingers around it to feel it soft upon your skin and pluck it from where it lies among the leaves, secret it safe in your pocket. You would take it home, wrap it in tissue paper and put it in a box with a single line written on a small white card in slanting script, Found in the Bluebell Wood, 25 October 2020, and leave out that when you write that date your pen turns the first 20 to a 19 as if you could stretch back across a hundred years and capture the echo of a beam of light, the knelling bells and how it must have been to be the one to walk a dark London street at six a.m. to find a payphone and bear the news that he is gone.


That such things could ever fit along the tines of a feather, things too great to be spoken, a spreading kind of grief and anger that slips down through time to the shadows of a wood a century and a sea away, and in the depths of it all is love of a sorts, the squeeze of a hand and knowing glimpse of an eye, as if it might ever be contained, ever be caught and held. As if you would pick that feather dark against

the leaves, grey and black and lost, and nest it in a box with a note to send it across the ocean. As if you would and would it be a token of love or a token of grief? Or simply a whisper, a breath?


I saw this and it reminded me of your magpie nature (in the Bluebell Wood, on the last Sunday of October)


SM Colgan (she/her) is a bi writer living somewhere in Ireland. Her work focuses on emotion, history, sexuality, and relationships, romantic and otherwise. She writes to understand people who are and have been, and to ease the yearning in her heart. She has recently been published in October Hill Magazine and The Lumiere Review. Twitter: @burnpyregorse

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