E r i c  P e t t i f o r



by Eric Pettifor

There, just over there, just good-bye to the place and hello to the road past these fields and no clear destination because there isn't one, couldn't be, you've been there and you know how it goes on outside time or something without words just blades of grass sharper than history in books. Alone on that road is ghostly just for the fact of it, people before me, after me, and these telephone poles alone (one) alone (two) alone (three) and not so alone on and on.

I've seen these birds before. They crapped on the map I'd spread to read where I was. They obliterated North Battleford.

Conjunctions, crossroads, footsteps, footprints in sharp relief the sun so low now stretching everything sideways, same sun of the Romans, same sun watched us climb down from the trees, same as shined on the death camps on those beautiful days in World War Two that ought to have been grey as newsreels, Nature boycotting our games. She won't argue. The sun shines when he feels, shining on whoever. I remember it between my shoulder blades. In the grass, our sounds were part of that melody, symphony ~ strange amoral sympathy. She could teach us about unconditional love, Nature could, if we'd accept her terms.

A truck rolls by kicking up dirt, a beast in a hurry burying itself over that rise, only to rise again much smaller now and slower, then to disappear over another something of a hill, smaller again next time as it crawls up bugspeckle bound for the horizon. Carrying food home for a hungry brood. Maybe that's where I'd be headed too, if she'd let me be.

It would be a luxury to be lost, but the crapped-on map still reads. I'm not headed for North Battleford.

Moon peeks up, early, hurrying the sun along. There will be stars. It will be cool. Maybe I'll stop thinking and have memories of my own, like the ones you gave me, with love, in love ~ nice. Not as certain as this road, never as determined, but light enough to carry and lie back on in need.

There'll never be another shooting star like that Lucifer that stole our breath and melted us to one another. Each one different in lots of ways.