The Road

The Road

Standing by the road that goes everywhere standing lying by that road eye level to it wondering standing by the road that so conveniently comes even to me the road that turns around and disappears into itself standing by that famous road one day wondering where it goes eating blackberries mouthfuls of alive at the root berries munching roadside brimming with flowing wild black bramble wild with sweet juices on my lips watching the wild road that followed me followed me home and waited outside my father's door my guest waited outside through the wet northern night patiently. There is always the road.

Nights I looked out the window at the road standing under the street lamp in its circle of light that mysterious patient sly snake in the grass who slithered all the way down to my father's house among the thick old trees who knew secrets down to my father's house with its comforting hearth fire the road followed me there even to my father's house and waited disguised as a road waited and in the day my mother went out on it to shop and my father used it to go to his work but never once did they suspect the disguise and cunning of that thing that waited for me.

At night the road left itself and crept to my bedroom window whispering. If my father had known that this inscrutable cunning snake in the grass came to me at night slithered through the empty glass down the wall and slyly into my ears into my brain into my dreams he certainly would not have allowed me to sleep on that side of the house he would have forbidden it he would have insisted I sleep in the attic room that looks into the forest but my father never suspected these nightly visitations of the road he was hopelessly under its spell believing it to be the mere thing it seemed to be going to all the known places in life he was unaware never suspected it waited each night in its circle of light like a tricky cat with claims to make.

And so the road that goes to every unknown place began to crawl and sprawl through my brain like a river with endless tributaries stretching over the land here lakes formed fish spawned mountains grew forests peopled the mountains stars sprung up into the dream night and the road climbed up into the stars like an eerie beanstalk climbed up into the stars winding around constellations tipping tilting and sagging them twisting and stretching them until the whole night sky swayed and rocked as though it might crash down all this went on in the quiet of the night in the unsuspecting night of my father's house.

And so this road took me one day one ordinary afternoon in spite of the family dog sleeping in the yard in spite of the goldfish hovering over her pile of blue stones the road came to my father's door saying "Come on now. It’s time." One sunny polite afternoon the road sprawled recklessly to my father's door saying "Hurry up please. It’s time." The lawless road drummed its fingers on the uncarved pumpkin saying "It's time. It's time. No time to say goodbye." And no one watched us go but the tail twitching twin cats who never told anyone anything at all. One polite autumn afternoon the road abruptly cut me out of my life and I left with the road that dried up as we went leaving a red stain of a trail behind us and so we go always going where the road goes into itself ever more into itself on and on towards itself leaving nothing behind but that ruddy thin stain that marks the earth behind us like a scar.