I’m not usually certain of things. My doubt springs crisp and clear. But I could almost hold it, this image – it assaulted me on the train:
In my past life I was a singer who traveled the desert. The Southwest. The Plains.
The memory was as real as pumpkin spice on a cold mountain day.
What could make me so sure – this mousy timid thing – that I was ever a wild woman with dirty frocks and dust in her hair?
Why would I – (simply idling on a long commute) – believe my voice once carried across the Sierras? Or that my slender arms held men seeking fortunes?
I was once a half-breed, before the war, but after the Gold Rush. Beautiful and dangerous.
Centuries lie between her and I. California. The ocean.
Vision’s not 20/20; my lenses are thick. But her eyes – mine – were unyielding. She saw the world and its fires, but it did not make her flinch.
When the time has come to bridge this divide, I will stand sunburned, but brazen. (Announce that I am alive again.)
Is it right, that she has lifted me up? (I have been down). This past woman, lustful and loud.
Back then, I seemed to have understood that the as of yet untrampled territory, it was mine to seek, mine to claim.
Me, silent but for shuffling
I opened my mouth today.
Earth fell from my tongue.
Sion Dayson is an American writer living in Paris, France. Her work has appeared in Smokelong Quarterly, The Binnacle, The Wall Street Journal, and the anthologies “Sounds of This House” and “Strangers in Paris: New Writing from the City of Light” among other venues. In 2007 she won a Barbara Deming Award for Fiction and she holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She just finished her first novel, which recently placed as a semifinalist in this year’s William Faulkner Wisdom Competition. She is currently seeking representation for the book. For more information about her work, feel free to visit siondayson.com.