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Craig Rishus The Picnic Artist

Weißt du's noch nicht? Wirf aus den Armen die Leere zu den Räumen hinzu, die wir atmen; vielleicht daß die Vögel die erweiterte Luft fühlen mit innigerm Flug. Rilke, Duineser Elegien

Clara's blond exertions in the rowboat bloomed her cheeks, lightly touched with powder, a sunburst color. Lazy tennis echoed from the club's clay courts along the shore. Dressed in pressed white flannels, Tom sat in the stern of the boat, a hand politely trailing in the water. The picnic basket he had packed rested beneath the slender bow seat. Clara had never met an American with a talent for painting. She was glad that Tom was no different, for a painting talent betrayed a brutality of mind. She had observed this in dozens of artists; once, had gone so far as to make the monstrous mistake of marrying talent. Her handling of the oars was taking them nearer the island. »Nonsense«, she said, her blue eyes smiling. Beyond the tennis courts began a field of alfalfa. If a cow gets into alfalfa, you must quickly poke a hole through its stomach lining, or it will die. That was something Tom had learned from his father. His father's father had been a farmer. »But I've felt Him«, Tom said. »A god who doesn't believe in Himself«. The water slapped a murmur of voices along the shoreline. Clara could still feel the wine from the night before, and she was glad that they were speaking English, for the natural wishy-washiness of the English tongue seemed created especially to rally hangovers. »Whatever can you mean?« she wondered. »Once«, Tom said, »I stepped into that energy of doubt, and for one godlike moment, I didn't believe in Myself either«.

Crack the Spine - Issue 45  

Literary Magazine

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