Metal from the Sky


The Problem – by Mark A. Harrison

Reminded of this one today, hiding with cats in the shade, out of the beautiful baking sun, April masquerading as July.

Metal from the sky
sun-blasted desert on all sides
distant smudge of hills on horizon
dusty roads straight on to eternity
until they melt into the heat
shimmering like water

everything is sweat and dirt
thirst in a parched throat
powerful as the need to breathe
you could walk for miles
before finding a well
yet farmers mist their fields every day
row upon row of sprinklers
a smear of green against the brown/yellow/grey
sucking water from high in the ills
from deep under ground

here one dreams not of opulence and riches
but of a long cold shower
clean sheets not caked with dust
clothes not soaked with sweat
and endless pool of water to drink from
popsicles, ice-cream, fresh fruit, towering trees
a wind that doesn’t sting your eyes.

Metal came from the sky
it might have been a dream, or an hallucination
brought on by loss of blood, dehydration
it might be a meteorite, hurtling from heaven
a car flying off a bridge, to the dry river bed below
a helicopter, against a white sun, in a clear blue sky
or it may be none of these things

it is not always clear
when you meet the man in black
whether he is friend or foe
demon or saviour, killer or healer

maybe he is all of these things
and then, maybe he is just a man
climbing out of his car
scrambling down the side of the ditch
to pull you free from the metal
that surrounds you, crumpled, broken, bleeding
the engine leaking black oil into the sand

You cannot feel the ground beneath you
as he drags you up the hill
lays your head down on the gravel shoulder
you watch, together, as the metal burns
black smoke climbing into the sky.

– T.H. (2008)

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