The Doppler Effect
by Mark Samcoe
blackbirds in the evergreens scatter
as he approaches between ditch and pine windbreak,
tensed against the rototiller's tottering buck.
NATO pilots training out of CFB Moose Jaw
scratch the sky over quiet quarter-sections,
the loud shush of gravel-road traffic.
there's a girl he cannot hold.
she's so close. he's cheating
the suffering distance.
he used to name stray cats after Metallica songs-
tried to incite fights in the barn, unused
granary rings as an arena. he gripped
squirming toms, dumped them in,
shouted for seek and destroy,
harvester of sorrow, who ignored each other,
leapt over the corrugated metal
and slunk out into the farmyard.
he wrangles the tiller, turning wildgrass,
thistle, the hard ground, all the way
down to the mineral. wet dirt
clumps on his shoes.
frequency increases or decreases
according to the speed at which the distance
is decreasing or increasing.
a blackbird flees. a shotgun fires.
by the time he hears the jets, their sound
the slow clearing of phlegm-addled throats,
they have already landed.
would like you to meet Motorbreath and Leper Messiah.