Brother was up all through the night. He went over the papers one more time and woke me before dawn. He shook as he did when angry, though his look was only tired.
Let’s have a last look, he said.
We sat the horse together, me up front and brother holding onto my belt. The dew was frozen and her unshod hooves clattered crisply on the ground. The horse was all white, with brown freckles that increased with sunlight and with the years. Sunspots, brother called them. They traced our years, as much as her own. Our coming of age measured on her body.
The trees on the bluff were our bodies too, and tomorrow they would be up to their crowns in water.
The horse breathed in the world and expelled it in vapour. I breathed in the horse and held my breath to keep her there. She turned her head and looked at us. Not like a mother, but not like anything else either.
It’ll all be gone then, I said.
Brother rested his chin on the top of my head and when he sighed, his jawbone pressed into my skull.
Just flooded, he said. It’ll be there. Under water.
We sat on the warm solid back with only the horse’s thick winter coat and our jeans between our own spirit and hers. Breathing as the horse breathed and brother at my back, every inch of that land was loved.
R.T. Florisson has worked as an animal caretaker in Scotland, done wedding photography in India, and chopped wood on a farm in France. She currently lives in northern Europe, which has a bit of a freeze going on. She cycles to work every day, snow or no snow, and daydreams that she passes the office and keeps on cycling. This is her first publication.