A woman’s body lies in a ditch by a British Columbia road. Torn and bloodied clothing flaps in the breeze. A cracked cellphone rings in vain. Again and again. Where are you?
In Ukraine, a woman talks to the camera. My husband is out there among the tomatoes. He was weeding when the bombers flew over. Find him if you can.
A child looks up with haunted eyes at a residential school. The backyard with its markers waits; it is hungry.
We have lived with pterodactyls for years. They flap across our skies unchecked and patrol in squadrons of thousands. They prey on the weak, watching for stumbles or telltale chatter. Their hunger is exponential. Their shadows darken our land.
Their passage defiles school properties, gardens and northern roads. We grab our rosaries, tend to our plots, and look the other way.
In a dusty western outpost, Sunday service radiates love. The greasy smile of the preacher smooths the impossible work of forgiveness. AR-15s complete one’s Sunday best. Open carry, open road. Open minds have vanished. Hearts open and close.
Bullets whistle in nearby gullies. The railway tracks attract bodies.
This small hamlet was always gunslinger heaven. Shattered windows fracture the sun and moon. Claw marks leave a signature on a door that will not open. I see half your face smiling back. My brother is my foe. My sister knows her place.
Rare torrential downpours mourn the loss of so many sinners. But all rain is welcome in the west. A world away, in a desert cave, sacred texts crumble to dust. The constellations wheel overhead.
Touch of the Maestro
Let’s shed crocodile tears and write billets doux to lost lovers.
Let’s fold florid prose into paper planes. We’ll call them concords, messengers of peace.
Let’s launch these ephemera, freighted with tears, over forest fires on the western ranges.
Or let’s release our missives from the International Space Station to float down home, bearing the kiss of God, to choose land over ocean by instinct. Zigzagging through the turbulent weight of air. Consider the letter “Z” and Ground Zero.
Let’s switch to a mirror image of our alphabet. Let’s choose compassion.
Let’s flash Morse code with mirrors. We have gone mute.
Let’s tend to our own gardens. Let’s abandon our gardens and work the widow’s plot for her till justice comes.
Let us work relentlessly, blind with tears, till justice comes.
©2022 Art Jeffrey Lipsky, ©2022 Text Heather Ferguson, ©2022 Petrichor ArtLab combined
All rights reserved
Jeffrey creates abstract narratives that are found in galleries, museums and private collections worldwide. He was featured in the New York Times Magazine (Portrait of an Artist as an Avatar – Filthy Fluno – The New York Times (nytimes.com). He recently held an online art exhibit at the Metaverse Art Museum.
Heather is the author of A Mouse in a Top Hat (chapbook, Rideau Review Press) and The Lapidary (special issue, Ygdrasil, A Journal of the Poetic Arts). The Lapidary was later translated into Spanish (four broadsheets) and French (The Lapidary / Le Lapidaire, Vermillon).