Light beamed out from the sentinel’s staff, far into the future, casting a glow for the gathering sheep. Drunk on a 1987 hand-me-down couch in 1993, the sentinel nurses his black eye, and savors the coming of the next one, and the next one, and the next one. “Be gone you Catholic Fuck!” he decries to the last stumbling uninvited guest. A wayward Jew, the young man is confused but there is no mistaking the menace of the sentinel’s staff- now a rusty leaf rake rattling in the yellow dingy light of a moldy, rented carport. “This party is over, and everybody out!” Out of the house, out of this town, and out of this era, onto the next somewhere in the promise of the great unknown west. Meet me in Montana boys, and pack light, he says and with that the sentinel is gone.
An adult now,he shrugs it off, the tawdry weighing details of an accumulated life. Sheep came, sheep scattered he says when asked about the great migration of 93. Sheep never stay where you lead them, but find their way onto precipice and into fast-moving water, their bleats bouncing off the limestone walls as they spin from eddy to strainer. Go get your own black eyes sheep, these are mine.
An ectomorphic beard in a fleece robe, the sentinel stands in the yard. A rented bike and no water, let’s make this a ride of deprivation he says. So we take to the woods unencumbered and the sun lays down gold in the pines. Chatter eventually subsides and we are released to the flow, the slipping of the earth beneath our wheels, holding our invisible hands to our invisible rides and decades have passed, but who cares? The sentinel’s job never changes.
The forest is breathing, and its exhale pushes us faster. Rolling. With ease. Long beyond the luminous flux of the sentinel’s first light, refracting off the backs of all those wayward sheep. That westward-pointing light.