The Revenants
by jim dolan

(from the Fr. revenir-to return; those who have returned, the spirits of the dead, returning to the site of their deaths)

he was just back
    from africa, where he'd
caught the spirochete, or a
virus, syph--who knows?  maybe

he just cracked in the sun?  what-
ever, he was not the same man left
them 25 years before....

sister kate caught him late one after-
noon, wondering around the front garden,
fumbling at his fly, muttering

where have they gone and put the
loo?  and kate said, not here, jack
not here, and gently took his hand,
to lead him inside....

later, i saw them, hand in hand, he in
his tall commandant's cap, walking down
by the river....

the western sky was lit pink and gold, the
two of them in silhouette, a pair of fading
revenants, melding into the darkened
woods...i could just hear his voice, telling

sister kate that 'in the dream, mother came
carrying a huge vessel full of water' which
she poured over him as he sat unclothed on
the rim of a porcelain tub.  he said he knew this

to be a 'direct reference to the house of
aquarius, the water carrier'... 'i see, jack,
i see' said kate, in that patient
voice of hers.  'careful' she said,

'watch your step, jack, watch your

Copyright 2024 by Red River Review. First Rights Reserved. All other rights revert to the authors.
No work may be reproduced or republished without the express written consent of the author.