Saturday, December 1, 2007

Janice M. Bostok: WHEN LIFE LEAVES

There’s a different couple in the old Graham place you say as we drive home from town i wonder where the other lot went

Who knows they move about like gypsies i answer

pelts jacaranda blossoms
against our windscreen

Look out they’ve got a dog

A half-grown black cattle pup lopes out of the gateway onto the roadside

It’ll stop you say not going fast but not attempting to brake either as it keeps running it’s tongue lolling to one side with what seems like a silly grin of greeting on its friendly face as it appears almost determined to run straight under the wheels of our 4 wheel drive

helicopter blades
above the cane fields
flatten the crop

Before you stop I’m out of the vehicle and by the pup’s side

It lies calm and still as it looks up at me our eyes meet shiny and bright in recognition before the life slowly drains away and they glaze over in finality

The woman screams you’ve killed my bloody dog i only got it yesterday you’ve killed my bloody dog

She almost throws down a girl toddler she’d been carrying in her arms

The child panics begins to cry and cling to her legs but she pushes her away standing alone over the dog

a gust of wind
whips her skirt
about her legs

A young man comes out of the house

Take the kid inside he says quietly

No she screams they’ve killed the bloody dog

Without saying more he picks up the child and carries her indoors making soothing sounds to comfort her as he walks

the door slams
one hinge rattling

We continue the drive home in silence the woman’s high pitched voice ringing in my ears her accusations become my own

By her rebuke i now know that the light from those brown eyes will continue to follow me

I can’t stop thinking about the child will she always remember that day will she come to know as i have that life leaves the body through the eyes

narrow trail
the 4 wheel drive

by Janice M. Bostok
Murwillumbah, New South Wales, Australia
first published in Stylus Poetry Journal

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