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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 10, Number 3, September 2016
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Hazel Hall
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia


Galaxy

whirling clouds
as heavens deepen . . .
how brief
my encounters
with other beings

The old camper van is parked at a roadside rest place. Over the door is a sign: Driver Reviver. A new black land rover comes screeching in. Out pours a guy in tatts and bragging tee.

"Hello friend." The wizened old man greets him from behind an open window. His drab brown shirt is almost like a monk's habit. "Want a driver reviver? Tea or coffee?"

"Nah," says the burly one. "Just need to check the tyres. In a hurry. Gotta set up for a massive party tonight."

Suddenly the van lights up. For a moment the old man's face is the sun.

"Coffee's free. You'll need a bit of caffeine. This is not a good time of day for driving," he says, hurriedly rolling out a faded awning.

"Aw . . . OK. Thanks. Three sugars," says his visitor, taking a biscuit.

"I'm Nich." The old man chatters as he pours coffee. "Short for Nichiren. My granddad was Japanese."

"Hey, that's a strange name. I'm Rob. You must have seen me on TV. Robbie Ratchet in Stars of the Future. What brings you to this god-forsaken place?"

Nich puts his hand out through the window to shake the big paw.

"It can be rough on the road," he reflects. "The drivers are friendly. Truckies in particular. They appreciate a break. And I enjoy the peaceful times between. Native birds. The odd visit from a kangaroo. Wind in the trees."

Once again the shabby van has that strange, otherworldly glow. Rob seems not to notice. He bangs down the mug and jangles his keys.

"Sounds too quiet for me," he announces. "Gotta keep going and make lots of money. Thanks for the coffee."

"Travel safely," says Nich. But the engine is already roaring. Within seconds the land rover has gone.

the lodestar
seldom noticed
on the road
his GPS resets
itself to galaxy

imprints of wheels
on an asphalt patch
as trucks rush by
surrounding eucalypts
whisper in the breeze

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end

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