Fiction and Poetry


A Christmas poem by Jeffrey Stewart.

By Jeffrey Stewart
Published December 20, 2007

Not all angels are pretty
like fireflies
some are ugly
like the broken down old Corolla
that saved me on the freeway
when it slowed down to eight kilometres
and seemed to lift me
straight off the asphalt with its rust-coloured wings
leaving me suspended above the roof
of an ice cream truck.

Shape-shifting white car
poorly painted
less predictable than a scarecrow, equally unattractive
adopted wings instead of car doors
wind-ruffled and weary
white as snow
that lifted everything
beyond my rib cage
a full twenty feet in the air
informing and enfolding
beyond my every effort to breath
into the dissipation of night.

Knowing my own heart
and lack of faith
it took everything
within those wings
to keep my eyes from closing
from pretending that those russet wings
grown tarnished with age and misuse
where upholding me in more than this.

Neither the shape of the wind's edge
nor the soul's could escape me
in that thin space
suspended between earth and heaven.

To this day I have been
the keeper of the flame
of a limited vision.

Only through that warm December moment
frozen in a time-hole
did I watch with unlaced eyes
as this car, this guide, scratched, dirt-stained
preserver of life immortal
transformed me above the frontier
of the city's bridal veil
to see the world as it really was
in all of its glorious
"come onto me, for I am
as full of contradictions as you".

Like a child
not knowing which
road of cloud to choose,
I become fully aware
of a hurt that only driving
in acres of air can cure.

And you cured me.

With the peace of the city lights
and the night to light my way
I saw the eyes
the hearts of survivors
red as the sand
dripping down into an hourglass
beckoning me onwards
in a rhythm that is never broken.

The rhythm of a heart
I had thought had stopped
the rhythm of a hollowed-out bag
I could hold in the palm of my hand
the time keeper of life
miraculously restarted
and set down
permitted to persist in that space
as the car turned from white to uncertain
and I could no longer make it out
and became denser and denser
as it drifted farther and farther
above the stop signs
and the snow-black beams
of my driveway's safety.

A low-key Hamiltonian who has been amassing poetry since about the age of 15, Mr. Stewart has worked in various careers including managing the classical department at the downtown Sam the Record Man, operating a catering company, and managing an out-of-print bookstore. Mr. Stewart enjoys life with his wife and family of cats.


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