When the earth beneath their stone houses started to crumble, they said, this, too, will pass. When the foundations cracked and the walls fell into the dust, they moved into wooden houses. When their fruit orchards withered in the sun, they ate cactus and fried lizards. When the rogue fires jumped the hill and rolled over their new houses like lava, they ran for the coast. When the waters started to rise, they climbed into trees and tied rowboats to the higher branches. This, too, will pass, they said, nodding, as they unhooked their boats and rowed towards the horizon.

Charmaine Wilkerson’s story “How to Make a Window Snake” won the Bath Novella-in-Flash Award 2017.

Photo Credit: Sasa Stucin

4 Responses to “Row”

  1. Manikya says:

    What a great story!
    There is sense of age-old wisdom alongside a new age crisis. This layered story speaks not only to current and imminent issues of migration, immigration, and climate change, but also to the human condtion. The ability to adapt, assimilate and be resilent . The lyrical tone and the cadence of this piece is marvellous! Kudos Charmaine!

  2. Angelica Jordan says:

    It’s was almost biblical for me. Like the Arch and the plagues of Egypt. This is the human philosophy, survive and it will pass.

  3. Michael says:

    This story reminds me of Greece. The apathy of my people as they watch their county destroyed.

  4. Tony Motzenbacker says:

    This story feels like California, where I live. Often I think we’re living on the edge — I know we are — but like most people taking up space here, I buy into the fantasy we’re not. Row is a lovely summation, not only of the state of the environment, but of our state of mind.

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