by John Gawthrop


by Alyssa Jordan

Like her mother, Morena chose land over sea.

Every woman in her family had to pick one or the other. Sisters and aunts and cousins gradually split between the measured and the unknown. Curious yet practical, Morena valued her safety more than her thirst.

A man came along who turned wood and plaster into a home. He was as sturdy as an oak tree. Deep in the forest, he thrived, growing both large and kind. Their roots took hold in the hard earth.

Like her mother, Morena said it was good.

Sometimes, when the morning light struck their marriage bed, or the stark, resilient landscape that clung beyond their window, all she could think about was the rock of a boat beneath her feet. The smell of seawater. The crackle of wind.

Like her mother, Morena learned to swallow this hunger.

She chewed on salt cubes and bathed cracks into her skin. She exercised with the balls of her feet. She ignored the ghostly swell of her stomach, the ripple of grey in her hair. She watched her house fill and tried to be glad.

One day, she told herself, these things would be enough.


About the photographer: John Gawthrop is in late-career in the mental health field, along with being a musician and composer with an interest in phone camera photography. He lives on beautiful Vancouver Island, Canada, where he always has his phone at the ready. This photograph is titled “At the Edge of Blue.”