May 2012 - Vol. 60

Landfall: Part 3 - Redemption
a prose poem in three part 
The man opened the door of the car. He felt dead. He looked across the intersection and saw the woman lying upon the road. Her legs were in the car, but her head was on the road. A crowd of people were beginning to gather. The man was afraid. He walked across the intersection and looked at the woman. She had silver brown hair and a small face. Her eyes were closed. The man was afraid. He began to walk away. The people murmured as he passed. He began to walk faster. The murmur became a buzz. And the people closed about him in a ring, forcing him back towards the car. The man began to cry. Cold, salty tears began to fall from his eyes, and he turned back to the woman fallen out of her car. A pool of blood was spreading around her head. The blood was dark brown. The man had always thought that blood was red. A large, strong man had approached the car and was looking at it. There was blood on the door jamb, and on the floor of the car where the woman had fallen out. The man was afraid. He looked at the green car, and the road, and the woman’s car, and the woman. He had done this. 

The strong man turned to him and was about to speak. The man did not want to hear what he was going to say. He knelt down and picked up the woman. The strong man started to shout, but the man did not care. He picked up the woman and walked towards the crowd. They stiffened for a second. The man pressed the woman towards his chest and ran into the center of the people. They parted easily as he ran, but they started to shout, and run after him. The man was afraid.  The man began to run with the woman in his arms. Blood from the woman’s head was on his shirt. He tried to straighten her in his arms as he ran, but the blood fell down her hair and dripped onto his jeans. He tried to keep her forehead level with the ground, facing up to the sky, but it kept slipping as he ran from the crowd down the street, across the estate towards the beach. The woman was difficult to carry. The man could not run as fast as he was able because he was carrying her. But the man knew what to do. He had to get to the beach, and talk to God. God would understand. God would heal the woman. God would make the blood go away again.  The people shouted and began to give chase. The man was afraid and ran faster. He flexed the muscles in his legs, and pushed off on the balls of his feet, and breathed with his nose. One, two, three and four he counted in his head as he ran. The man could hear the crowd running behind him, but they were not catching up. He turned his shoulder as he ran, steadying the woman against his elbow. Some of the crowd had stopped and turned back to the cars. Only some people continued to run after the man. The man could see the strong man in the midst of them. He turned his head and ran for the beach. 

God was not on the beach. The man ran across the sand calling to God. He could not find him.  God was not in the running. The man was afraid. He clutched the woman tighter to him to make her easier to carry, and made to continue running across the sand. She stirred and made a small sound of pain. She was not dead. The man laughed aloud with relief and turned to thank God. He could not find him. God was not in the turning. The man looked back along the beach and saw that the crowd had stopped following him, except for one man. It was the strong man. The man was afraid. The strong man would take the woman away. He would bring her to the hospital where she would die. The strong man would bind the man with chains and throw him into a house forever. The strong man would walk around the house all day shouting murderer, murderer, murderer. The woman was not dead. God could heal the woman. The man knew he had to keep running. He turned and cried to God one more time before he started to run. God was not in the cry. The man was afraid. He began to run.  He ran across the sand. The strong man ran across the sand after the man. The man sobbed and continued to run along the sand.  The strong man followed the man. He did not get closer, and he did not get further away. The strong man followed the man. 

The man ran. He ran across the beach and up the road. He ran along the road and across the river. He ran up the side of the hill and across the plateau, trying to keep the woman’s head level with the sky. He cried out to God, but God was not on the road, across the river, or on the plateau. The strong man ran after him, and the blood dripped down on his jeans. The man ran across the plateau. He ran down the mountainside into the valley. He ran along the dry river bed and scraped his hand on the furze bushes. The woman’s head slipped from the crook of his arm now and again, and blood splashed on the ground. He could not support her head all the time. The man cried out to God, but God was not in the valley, along the dry river bed or in the woman’s head. The strong man ran after him, and the woman’s head lay over the crook of his arm, and blood splashed on the ground. The man ran along the dry river bed to the head of the small stream. The man ran by the small stream as it flowed into a watercourse coming from the east. The man ran along by the watercourse as its height rose, and its banks widened, until it was a great river that could not be crossed.  And the water flowed out into a lake. Beside the lake there grew a tree. And the man thought it was the tree that grew at the center of the earth. The tree grew great and strong, and its top reached to heaven.  And it was visible to the ends of the whole earth, and its foliage was beautiful. Its fruit was low and sleek and green, and it provided food to all. And the man called to God, but God was not in the tree. And the man was tired, and he laid the woman down by the foot of the tree. And he thought - Here I will wait for the strong man to come, and here I will be safe if God will not protect me. 

The man turned to where the strong man had been following him, but he could not see the strong man any more. He looked as hard as he could, but he could see nothing. And a mist rose out from the ground and came towards the man and the woman by the man’s tree. And in the mist the man could hear a voice, and suddenly the man was afraid. And the voice said, cut down the tree, and chop off its branches, and strip off its foliage, and scatter its fruit. And the man clung to the tree, for it would protect him from the strong man. But he could not save it, and the top of the tree was cut off, and the branches began to fall down.  And the woman began to cough, and blood came from her mouth, and she was dying. And the man could not see through the mist, and he cried out to God. And he could hear him, but God was terrible now. And the limbs of the tree were falling off behind him, and the trunk was razed to the ground with a band of iron and bronze, with only a stump and roots left. And the man was weeping aloud to God, and the woman was coughing, and blood came from her mouth, and her life was ending. And there was a terrible crack behind him as the earth opened up across the roots of the tree. And the man fell to the ground in agony, for his heart was torn in two. And he wanted to die, yet he wanted to live, and his life was ending, and he could not save her. And as the man lay dying on the ground, by the roots and stump of the great tree, a shoot rose up from the crack in the ground in the old tree. Faster than the man could see, a shoot grew into a branch, which grew into a trunk, which split in three. And one branch grew to the North, and one to the south, and one straight up. And the woman rose, and lay by the foot of the new tree in the old tree, and died. And the man wanted to die too, but he couldn’t because his heart was still tearing. And he could see the new tree forcing apart the stump of the old, as it grew north and south, and straight up. And the man wanted to run to the new tree, but he couldn’t.  And he wanted to walk to it, but he couldn’t. And he dragged his arm and knee towards it, and crawled along the ground to the new tree straight and tall, and north and south, and fell down on the land in front of the tree. 

The man could hear the horn. It sounded loud and continuous. He heard a voice talking to him. It was not the woman or the strong man. It was not God. He opened his eyes. He could see a policeman. The policeman was talking. The man looked past him. He could see an airbag and a tree that had many branches, but one thick branch from the trunk grew straight up, and one grew north, and one grew south. And the front right nose of the low sleek green car was in the tree that grew straight up, and north and south. And the car was wrapped around it, and the tree was holding up the car, and stopping it from smashing into the house behind. The man looked behind him. There was the intersection, and a patch of oil, and the open road. He lifted his right hand from the wheel and the horn stopped. It was quiet, there was no one else talking. The policeman was saying patch of oil, incredible escape, and the tree saved you, and you should thank your lucky stars no one else was hurt. The man said, I think I died. The policeman said, you didn’t, but you might have. And you should be careful, and where do you live. The man said, “I think I live in that tree”. The policeman looked at him strangely, and took out his phone to make a call.

.> See Parts 1 and 2
[Prose poem by an Irish dreamer who majored in English literature. Art work by an American business major who paints Irish landscapes when he is not dreaming.]
 copyright © 2012  Living Bulwark
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