The Back of a Turtle

Prompt: Clouds


Andrew and Sophie stretched out on two vinyl-strapped loungers in the back yard of Andrew’s grandfather Bernard, one summery spring afternoon, holding hands across the chasm, and staring into a perfect sky.

The blue of the sky was deep enough, and the clouds bright and varied enough, and the breeze just enough, to display constantly shifting myths and stories and shapes, for those who had the time and imagination.

“I see Richard Nixon doing a handstand on a ship with sails,” Andrew said.

“Yes, I see that,” said Sophie.

“Do you see the polar bear?”

“Pacing? Yes.”

“Look, a duck with a pipe.”

“Looks more like a hookah.”

“Do you see the god, with a spear in one hand a sword in the other, with the face of a cocker spaniel?” asked Andrew.

“No, where is that?” said Sophie, peering, since the sky canopy was enormous. “I do see a god riding a scooter carrying a golf club.” She squinted. “And a goddess in the middle of a cartwheel on the edge of a cliff.”

“The goddess is on the edge of a cliff?” Andrew asked.

“The god needs to carry weapons?” asked Sophie.

“Don’t look at the clouds just above the doctor’s place on the bluff,” Andrew said. “The god and goddess are going at it.”

“Even though the goddess is a virgin?” said Sophie.

“So is the god,” said Andrew after a pause.

They were both quiet for a moment. “There is a map of Italy on the back of a turtle,” Sophie said at last.

“Yes I see it,” said Andrew.

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