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I spend two weeks on the island. My friends come to visit. A bosom friend, a flirtatious friend, and a friend I had forgotten. They bring rations: poultices and potions, short stories and logbooks, popsicles, playing cards. We set up camp. My bosom friend reads to me. She describes greener and rockier islands to me. Tells of birds with feathers like mirrors that shimmer and shake. She smooths my sheets and warns of the flirtatious friend. He arrives two days late, too early in the day. He lights a fire and removes the sheets from me. Braids my hair and runs off and finds a ladybug and lets it crawl all over me. We share a popsicle. He drips onto me. We play cards. My friend loses one game, and another, and then he no longer wants to play. He prepares a poultice and then a potion, and finishes it, forgetting to offer me any. Now he shimmers and shakes. He wants to explore, though he knows I can’t come along. The next day, at dawn, he is gone. All morning, I look out at the sky. The island seems barren and dry. I send out a smoke signal. Late at night, a voice comes calling for me. A friend from another time or place lies down next to me. He slips a ribbon from the pages of a logbook. Tells tall tales about distant ports of call. Talks of tigerfish and sea mist and palm oil. He brings news of inclement weather. The chimes and bells begin clinking. I’ve been thinking, my friend says, but the wind whisks his voice away. We wrap ourselves in the flapping sheets and follow the storm clouds across and then off the island.
Sarah Moses is a Canadian writer and translator of French and Spanish. Her work has appeared in journals including Brick, Event, and Harper’s Magazine, and in the chapbooks as they say and Those Problems. Recent and forthcoming translations include Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica, Camering: Fernand Deligny on Cinema and the Image, and Death By Water, a collection of poems by Alberto Manguel. Sarah is also the co-translator (with Tomás Downey) of Sos una sola persona by Stuart Ross, and of Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz (with Carolina Orloff), which was longlisted for the Man Booker International and shortlisted for the Best Translated Book Award, among other prizes.