Ozzie Ausband

always comes evening

Before night drew her veil across the lingering light of day, I slowed & nosed the car into a narrow dirt track beside a dead end road. The LA river basin was down a steep rough concrete slope to my left. Barbed wire was heavily festooned across the fence- top surrounding it and trash was carpeted thickly at its base. The winds blew hard through the area. I locked the car and peered about in the gloom. I heard voices muttering in the distance. I located them quickly. They appeared homeless and were unaware of my presence. I ghosted them for several minutes and assessed for threats. After a time, they were gone. I walked up a short rise that looked down on the riverbed and nearby houses. In the middle distance, on a small hill, stood a burnt house… its windows vacant. The shell of the house resembled  a grinning skull. I smiled thinly to myself. Beyond that, the waterway snaked its silvered path along the foot of the walled neighborhoods that rose against the skyline. I squatted there on my haunches and let my eyes adjust. I listened and let the dark seep into me.

I am the intruder. I am looking for pools. I work in solitude. He travels fastest, who travels alone. I surveyed the yards below me. I studied the stretch of neighborhood that lay as pale as a silver stream beneath the wan glimmer of the far, uncaring stars. There were few sounds to break the hush of night… the mournful cry of a night bird, and the buzz and chirp of nocturnal insects. I could make out several pools. They were virtually empty. The area was downtrodden. I noted doghouses and homes lighted from within. I must be cautious. Invisible. I scanned the area once more, checking the horizon. I threw my sweatshirt over the barbed wire–covering the spikes–and pulled myself quickly across. I moved down the hill. The night drank the light & the swish of the long grass marked my passing. Skate- Ozzie