David Lawrence Morse last there ever was. fiction It was my father who was the oarsman, and the We believed no one could die on our island; the gods forbade it, and disaster would follow. And so when the sickness came upon one of us, the oarsman would row away with the dying islander over the horizon: my father the oarsman and his father before and his father and on and on. No one knew where he went, and no one knew what became of the bodies, but the bark was always empty when my father rowed it back to shore. Some said he floated somewhere over the horizon waiting for the dying to die and then heaved the body into the sea. But most imagined there was a place, a watery grave, a shining coral garden among the Photograph by Guillaume Leroy 9 darker waters, where the bodies could be released and remain. Some said the released didn't die at all but lived in peace on the Island of the Blessed, and we would meet them in the end. As for my father, he laughed at such stories and would wink at me and tell the villagers
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Oct 29, 2007
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