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Poetry

Gypsy Caravan

by James Eke



She was a gypsy in Arizona plates
Lost somewhere
Far
On that
Lone flat place
Between Moosejaw
And Moosonee
Where even the screech of crickets
Has a sullen
Scream
Of sunburnt afternoons
Spitting grit from teeth
As that rig rumbles by
Like a stampede of buffalo from ages long past

She said she was on her way to some
Catholic
Voodoo
Santeria
Ball
Down New Orleans way
I muttered something about being headed the wrong direction
As she laughted
Batted her lashes
And wiggled those long legs that ended in a place I could only imagine
Whispering something about all of us guilty
Of the same crime

We talked about God
Books
Booze
And boredom
That can overwhelm into hypnotic visions
As that long Trans Canada Highway stretches out
Yellow line taking on a life of its own
And the world itself seeming something long gone

She asked where I was headed
Lying about visiting a sick friend in some far off
West Coast logging camp
That you had to take a float plane to get to
She smiled
Seeing right through me
Asking to sit a little closer
I told her that Voodoo stuff wouldn't work on me
Mumbling fantastic flights of the patron of aviation
And those Tibetan monks I'd skim boarded with
Laughing
That far off summer day
As tourists stopped to take pictures
Shaven heads
Red robes hauled up to pale thighs
And Elvis sunglasses
That seemed too unreal even then
But still she tried
Showing me the tools of her trade
That made me blush

Then somewhere
When afternoon was rolling to night
And the highway seemed longer than it had ever been before
She said she was heading south if I was interested
I imagined howling dog nights
Camped out beside her campervan
The two of us older than ages
Twisting strange things
And even stranger stories
Into trinkets to sell to civilians
As they came to find fortune
Or one of her ancient charms
But instead crawled out into the gravel
The instant after she'd pulled over
Reaching across the seat
To plant one where it counted
And with a wink was gone
Disappearing down that dark brake light highway
Into the place of dreams

But even today
Driving
Alone
I wonder
Where she is
If she thinks of me
Conjures images of us together
Forever
Dancing under that
Full
Prairie moon