The Flowers of Bermuda

Bilkie Sutherland took the postcard from behind his rubber bib and slowly read the message one more time: “I’m going here soon. I hope your lobsters are plentiful. My best to Bella. God bless you. Yours, Gordon MacLean.” Bilkie flipped it over: a washed-out photograph in black and white. The Holy Isle. Iona. Inner Hebrides. On the land stood stone ruins, no man or woman anywhere, and grim fences of cloud shadowed a dark sea. So this was Iona.

“You want that engine looked at?” Angus Carmichael, in his deepwater boots, was standing on the wharf above Bilkie’s boat.

“Not now. I heard from the minister.”


“He’s almost to Iona now.”

Angus laughed, working a toothpick around in his teeth. “Man dear, I’ve been to Iona, was there last Sunday.” Angus meant where his wife was from, a Cape Breton village with a Highland museum open in the summer, and a St. Columba Church.

“It’s a very religious place,” Bilkie said, ignoring him. “Very ancient, in that way.”

“Like you, Bilkie.”

“I’m the same as the rest of you.”

“No, Bilkie. Sometimes you’re not. And neither is your Reverend MacLean.”

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