Winter 1995 • Vol. XVII No. 1 Fiction |

March 12, 1810: Doe Run

Every morning earlier she walked down the narrow case of stairs, before the robins and the crows, lifted the latch, and stepped out into the yard, budded but unblossomed, lengths of snow still stretched at the feet of the walnut, the black and white birches, the apples distant on the hill, invisible in the dark. With each step the face she showed crept over the open face of the night, like ice over water. She held a wooden bucket in each hand. Every morning the light came more quickly, as day won back its lost winter portion and the earth turned toward the equinox. In the springhouse the damp cold felt like heat; as the days lengthened, she had started to feel heat all around, pressing at the core of the chilly winds, locked in each furled leaf. When she opened the door she could hear the water pouring across the stones in the shadow; Evan said it was the finger of an underground river, that they could water all the stock in Pennsylvania from that outpouring, until his great-gra

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