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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 12: March 2022
Micro Fiction: 359 words
By Jane Salmons

The Weightlessness of Love

—After Promenade (1917) by Marc Chagall *
 

He flew me like a bamboo kite on our first date. Buoyed up by two glasses of Beaujolais and a slice of amaretto cake, I took his outstretched hand, spread my arms wide, and soared. As he gently let loose the line, the wind caught my petticoats, clouds rushed past, the earth whirled in a kaleidoscope of viridian and malachite. How light I was!

There was no stopping me after that. I asked him to fly me on all of our dates. High above the harbour of the quaint coastal village where we day tripped, I floated. The fishing boats below me shimmered like jewels on glass. In the magnificent gardens of the Versailles Palace where he proposed, I hovered over fountains and paths, their intricate patterns a brown, green, and blue Maori tattoo from my birds’ eye view. One time, audaciously, I asked that he fly me over the big cats’ enclosure at the ZooParc de Beauval. With the gossamer breeze in my hair, the lions’ roars were mere kitten purrs, their snapping jaws mechanical wind-up toys. How I loved the thrill and romance of it all!

I guess he liked to boast because word soon got round about the man and his amazing human kite. People in our neighbourhood started to ask favours. Would I replace a broken roof tile? Unblock a guttering? Rescue a cat stuck up a tree? The excitement of flying began to wane.

My man tried to cajole me. Took me to Paris for the weekend and promised to fly me from the Eiffel Tower at sunset. But my heart wasn’t in it. We took a deadly dull night cruise on a bateau mouche instead.

In a last-ditch attempt to ignite my passion, we visited the Alabaster Coast. As the pink sun rose over the chalky cliffs, he once more unspooled my silky cord and watched with pride, as I lifted high on a thermal. I reached into my pocket, took out my dressmaker’s scissors, and snipped.

His cries soon blended in with the squawks of gulls, the rush of squall.

 

 

Publisher’s Note:

Promenade (oil on canvas, 1917) by Marc Chagall (1887–1985) depicts the artist and his wife, Bella Rosenfeld Chagall. Painting is held by the State Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg.

To learn more, see this 10-minute film on YouTube, Masterworks: Marc Chagall: Promenade 1917, an episode from the award-winning television series 1000 Masterpieces from the Great Museums of the World.

Jane Salmons
Issue 12, March 2022

is from Stourbridge in the UK. After teaching 16- to 19-year-olds for nearly three decades, she now works as a part-time consultant teacher trainer and private tutor. Her poems have been published in various webzines and journals, including Poetry Salzburg Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Ink Sweat & Tears, and The Emma Press Anthology of Illness. Her first collection of poetry, The Quiet Spy, is forthcoming with Pindrop Press. She is excited to be writing micro-fiction for the first time. In addition to writing, Jane enjoys creating handmade collage art, handbound booklets, and cards, which she sells online and at craft fairs.

 
 
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