A light rain falls on the trail I tread, an ancient peddler route that stretches a day’s walk from an inland village to a dying hamlet teetering at the edge of the Baltic Sea. The trail narrows to a path edged by rowan trees and wild crab apple, late-blooming thistle and wildflowers with intriguing names: dog-biscuit, saw-wort, cow-wheat, devil’s bit. A few assiduous bees brave the drizzle. Over a stile, into a pasture, cows come bustling importantly—five curious, bulky matrons with ugly EU-mandated ear tags, their monstrous udders swinging. On the other side of the pasture the forest begins and the path remembers that it is a shortcut, a by-way, the way to the village, the by. I pass the razed remains of a crofter cottage, where ghosts of perhaps eleven homesick children remain, their descendants at rest in American graveyards.

About the author

Janice D. Soderling has published poems, prose and translations in hundreds of journals and anthologies. She became a time traveler via her latest collection,…

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Issue 17 · March 2013

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