Fallbrook Creek - Poem by Herbert Nehrlich
So that was it, the cross street was,
for reasons unbeknownst,
well hidden in the summer weeds.
I lusted now, that taste (it was a smudge)
it had awakened carnal ghosts
and turned them into evil forces.
The heat was dancing, like liquid smoke
above the bitumen, clear clouds, a sky
which seemed to be part of the puzzle.
Why had she lured, with coal black eyes
and olive skin, and pearl dropp teeth,
a magnet of desire, pulling me along, to
barbed wire fences, guarding cows
and their hilarious, frequent pies,
a world forgotten by cityfolks,
but visited each day by shiny trucks
that ferried milk back to be pasteurised,
a lazy stallion flexing muscles, just in case,
a pair of herons reminiscent of the twins
and Frank, who teaches school to noon
is seeking mushrooms in the sticks,
perhaps he wants a psychodelic episode,
I know this place so well, but things have changed,
a bunch of hippies come to town, unwashed,
with fuzzy beards and silly ponytails
perhaps she was. She looked so clean,
there's talk about their hasty huts, loghouses,
built with exotic skill on someone's land,
they squat, you know, all things are shared.
I smell the sweetness of an unfamiliar fragrance,
and see a pair of naked feet, immersed
in what is left of Fallbrook Creek, just mud,
her flower skirt hitched up as if to shout
it's here, so come and get it before dark.
I sit beside her, casually, a man just curious
and eager to discuss the local news,
turns out she is the one they wrote about
on the front page of our small paper:
Canadian Teacher To Fill Vacancy This Week,
she doesn't mind the isolation here at all,
comes from the Big Prairie, up near Ontario Way,
divorced, no kids, just twisted memories.
I did feel cheated and I owed her some,
the explanation of a prejudiced Caucasian,
she knew though, and without an introduction
I heard a sermon about Indians, unwashed kids.
You simply must, she said, come get my Mother Earth,
it has the answers to what ails humanity.
At last I did receive directions to her place,
next to the firehall, a weatherboard affair,
we sat and read the magazine together,
drank Gallo Hearty Burgundy from coffee mugs.
And on the day before Thanksgiving Maurice came,
an Amish carriage pulled in enthusiastic stride
by two black Percherons, dressed up for the occasion.
There was a wake, so joked the preacher,
it seemed that all the folks had come to be
in pleasant company, to celebrate our union.
And each of fifteen years, consecutive they were,
another child was born, and always half Canadian,
they grew, before we knew, time just eloped
to secret places beyond the weeds and rusty fences,
could be the liquid pies, there were so many,
I doubt it though, of course we both agree,
well, I must close now, it is time, they did say four,
and when she called she said, oh Grandpa be prepared,
she wore a ponytail and fancy flower skirt
and we went down to Fallbrook Creek to sit and talk.
Both feet stuck deeply in the soft, immortal mud
surrounded by the sweetness of white flowers,
the early promise of a bounty of big blackberries.
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