The Singing Shoulder

On concrete cold
flakes like shattered glass
fly into harsh headlights
of a 1977 Cougar.

Randy and I, like voyagers
sweating toques
navigate a stream of ice
hard as a Lloydminister night
black as the trees
passing uneasy
in January dark.

Wind and white whip the windshield
a thin membrane
between synthetic security and outer oblivion.

We are lost, Randy and I
only the pressing dark
and the 77 Cougar
as if on rock overlooking a prairie crevice.

We will die, I think, we will die
here in this desperate place.

And then
like sweet Siren’s song
like a Lorelei
we hear the shoulder
the wheels of the Cougar
graze the ridge of the road
and the highway sings her warning.

Randy and I
and for a moment believe
in ghosts that haunt highways.

~ Vern Thiessen

Vern Thiessen is fast becoming one of Canada’s most produced playwrights. He has written for stage, radio and television. His stage plays have been seen across Canada, the US and Europe, including Shakespeare’s Will, Apple, Einstein’s Gift, Blowfish, The Resurrection Of John Frum. Vern is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award for Outstanding New Play, The City of Edmonton Arts Achievement Award, the University of Alberta Alumni Award for Excellence, The Canadian Jewish Playwriting Competition, and the Governor General’s Literary Award, Canada’s highest honour for playwriting. Last fall, he was nominated for the prestigious Siminovitch Prize in Theatre. He is currently Playwright-in-Residence at the Citadel Theatre.

Leave a Reply