On the Way to the New Country
Corey Mesler

—for Steven Allenmay

They told us there was a new country where the trees were bright with festooned wardrobes, a country where men and women lived as if they really meant it. Of course we set out. We were, in general, not the sort of people who set out, yet, now, we felt a burgeoning frippery, something like an immaculate conception. Pregnant with hope, Jacko said. It was a phrase that we passed around as if it were a splinter of the true cross and this made Jacko smile like a thousand suns. Along the highway we met other pilgrims, people from towns distant from us, people who looked strange and acted stranger. Their ways were not our ways yet we walked as one. Gayla took the hand of an outlander child and together they looked as natural as ivy on the Wailing Wall. The sun was a golden dish so high in the sky we thought we were receiving new light, light never before engendered. As we got closer to the new country the road became smoother, a ribbon as bright as Japanese bronze. Reminds me of the road betwixt Selma and Saugerties, Shlomo piped up. Above us, rooks, castles. Finney said, I hear music, I think I hear music. We cupped hands to our ears and some of us heard it, too. It was a novel kind of music; we could almost read it. Someone said punch-drunk crickets and someone said Thor's hammer & tongs and someone said The Dave Clark Five. When the gates came into view we all paused as if awed. It wasn't really awe, I don't think. It was more like reverence, or suspended animation. What would the new country be like? we wondered aloud. Some of the strangers crossed themselves and some of the other strangers crossed each other. What's left to do, Willy asked to no one in particular, but join the new country? We nodded as if Willy were a sage. And then we began our final march, the one that would take us inside the new country, the one we had never practiced, never anticipating, you have to understand, that there would be a new country, much less one with such magisterial and welcoming gates. It reminds me of the moon landing, Albert said. Except that we all weren't actually, you know, on the moon. Only some of us, Albert added, unnecessarily. The new country shone like a wedding cake. It shone like the Burning Bush. We moved toward it, mute as Mumchance.

Corey Mesler is author of Listen: 29 Short Conversations, and other books. Following Richard Brautigan, a novel, is due out in 2010.

To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/200909newcountry.htm

Photo detail on main page courtesy of zombizi.

Read CM's story "Morey Cesler" from the archive.

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