Old Dogs

EMPTY


out
on the desert
five miles from my car
and the nearest road
every tortured step
dragging me further
into the arid void
but compulsion
drove me
for I knew
that my clue
my answer
my satori
lay somewhere
in the wastelands
somewhere I must find
or give up
on life

I'm parched
having no water
or provisions
of any kind
still I plod forward
clad in old blue jeans
sweat stained tee shirt
and ragged tennis shoes
hardly prepared
for a hike
in the rocks
and sand

the scorching
afternoon sun
pounds down murderously
upon my unprotected brow
and I've just about
reached the limit
of safe return
I could probably still
turn myself around
and make it back
to my vehicle
in concession
or press forward
to either find
my redemption
or my
death

suddenly
the torrid breeze
ebbs in its assault
and a numbing silence
descends over the vicinity
stopping me in my tracks
as I hold my breath
and anxiously wait
for an omen
to show me
the way

shit!

something
beans me
in the back
of my baking skull
and I quickly turn
but see no assailant
then I look down
only to see
a shiny beer can
crumpled in completion
still glistening
with a few drops
of life giving
liquid

I bend down
and pick up
the projectile
just as the winds
resumes its activity
now eerily accompanied
by an unearthly laugh
of no apparent origin
that dissipates
as mysteriously
as it began

I shake
my head to dispel
the creeping shivers
as I look about me
in disbelief
but somehow
in a strange way
I now feel at peace
and smile as I begin
the long trek back
to civilization

maybe
there was still
enough time left
to hit a happy hour
back in
town