Insabilli And Shomesh
Carol Corke
Hayward Fault Line Winner
"For your dowry, Insabilli, you must create a masterpiece for your Lord Husband." So saying, Mahalani gave to her youngest daughter many fine needles of bone with which to create the elegant silk embroidery for which their peoples had long been renowned.

Stroking the padded package containing her mother's gift, Insabilli in her innocence asked, "Mother, what shall I stitch for one from faraway?" Her young brow furrowing seriously, she added, "What if I fail to please my husband?" Brusque, Mahalani replied, "You must not fail, daughter, for that would bring great dishonor to the House of the Locust."

Black eyes wide, Insabilli fell at her mother's feet, kissing the older woman's jeweled toes. "I will not fail, mother!" The young girl's vow resonated in the still morning air, ringing as a bell through the marble colonnade, startling the small bird which rested in the boughs of the holy Locust tree. Both women knew to fail was to die, as this union of great nations was their only hope of survival.

That night, Insabilli had a strange and wondrous dream. She saw herself spreading a fantastic tapestry at her new husband's feet; the time of Gift Giving having come to pass. As she and her beloved Shomesh stepped upon that creation of her own hand, the thing came to life. Though she knew him not in his tall pale beauty, it seemed they loved from before time had begun.

The green of tree and grass, the blue of sky, every particle of silken thread transformed itself to wood, to leaf, to pungent grass and fluid, shifting waters as their feet touched the fibers. Mist from the nearby sea bathed the two young lovers with halos of salted moisture. Her dream self smiled with devotion at Shomesh, who decreed that she would forever more be known as April in honor of this month of new beginnings. "And further more," declared her new dream husband, "This land shall be known as Seattle to honor our Great Mother, the sea."

The last images to delight her sleeping mind were she herself, reaching forward as an equal, rather than kneeling as a subject at her groom's feet, to touch his forehead, declaring him Mason, in honor of the month of his birth. Then they both opened the door of the Locust tree's gilt cage, freeing the small bird within, which blessed them with cascades of enchanted song.

Waking, her fingers flew nimbly all through the winter days, stitches wrought with such skill as none had ever seen. Mahalani remarked that Insabilli worked as one possessed of a vision. In the Locust tree, the little bird's song continued to direct Insabilli's hand. Possibly, it smiled.

First published: February, 2006
comments to the writer: Knob'