Harsh words he has for people
who live in mile after mile of snowed-in farms.
What right have they to be snug in their houses,
horses hustled into barns
doors closed tight behind them?
Clouds gray and low,
Jack falls to his knees
in the midst of this white undulation.
Not in prayer. Not even out of habit.
But just because he’s pissed.
Flakes drift down.
His bones are stiff and sore,
must operate on less limber cadence.
His car is in a ditch,
a frozen statue in a mound
at the side of the road.
It’s a shrine to too much speed,
too many skid marks.
He’s learnt a guy just can’t keep going and going.
And now, he’s setting out on foot
to prove that he can.
Jack trudges towards the nearest house.
It’s 1985. No cell phones.
Rescue requires other humans,
the ones he damned to hell
when he lost control and slid down an embankment.
He lives in the city.
In an apartment building where he talks to no one,
merely nods his hellos with a flick of the throat.
But these are country people.
They sniff out someone in trouble.
Sure, use the phone. Sit by the fire.
Want tea? How about coffee?
Wait here until Sid comes by with his tow truck.
The city you say? Used to go there
with my mother at Christmastime
to see all the pretty lights.
The guy from the garage shows up in an hour or so
and pulls his car out.
Jack’s thanks are perfunctory but no one seems to notice.
They wish him well on the rest of his journey.
The car starts up okay.
The guy with the tow truck won’t even take his money.
Twenty miles down the road,
he starts up where he left off,
cussing these hicks.
Looking for more? Check out these poems by contributors and staff of the MockingOwl Roost.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, and an avid collector of everything from early editions of Mad Magazine to vinyl to art books, all of which somehow find a way into his writing, along with the view from his study window and the happenings and/or non-happenings in his life.