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My Old Lady or in the Time of Wild Eyed Prophets and Grocery Carts by Brian Michael Barbeito



Do you know when it is the middle of dusk and you are in the centre of a liminal time? People don’t talk about the middle of dusk, or not so much, eh. I was on the outskirts of a town where the dirt and sure manicured boulevards begin to meet the feral worlds. The last brick wall, literally, I was walking by, and on my way into a store. The wind tossed my old lady’s hair and her head moved to one side to let that same wind move it out from her face. I saw her dimples and zygomatics, also the metal from an earring caught in the last of the late day light. Beyond her were the strange clouds, textured and they seemed to tell labyrinthine stories. I wanted to read them, to discern their mystic and esoteric messages. A man appeared out of nowhere, and caught me off guard, I, who am pretty perceptive. He handed me a grocery cart and looked at my eyes. I don’t like the eyes of the normalcy, the plain and judgmental, the untrustworthy eyes of the modern suburban or city set, no. What have they to offer me. They are clones of one another and what’s more, they are happy about it! That’s not any kind of true happiness of course, so maybe one should say they are ‘satisfied’ with it. They are Plato’s cave members even outside the cave on sunny days. Nothing will change them. But the man. He pointed at my old lady, a lady pure of heart, true and sagacious and beautiful. He said, ‘Take this cart and follow her. Every man has two mothers. Your first mother is gone, but this is your second mother and the one you are to obey now. Trust in her.’ I was a bit surprised at all this so just stared at him for a few long seconds. She stopped and looked back, wondering what was taking me so long. ‘Well go,’ he said, ‘and do as I say,’ and he went away and I took the cart and followed her. She began talking about things, but I couldn’t hear for some reason. I looked back and saw only clouds where the man had been, clouds that had gone all the way down to the distant horizon line as if they were whispering a secret to the earth.

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