John-Ward Leighton


Brian has been dead now for ten years
and heaven knows when he bought the light.
My friend bought it from him
when Brian went up country
just after he lost his leg.
Brian lost his life in a freak accident
slipping on the ice
on his doorstep
after his roommate
asked him to come outdoors
and view the Northern Lights.
They rushed him to the local clinic
where they were unable to help him.
The provincial government in one of their
cut costs frenzies had closed the local hospital.
Brian died in the ambulance to a hospital
one hundred and twenty miles away
while it was careening down a mountain highway
in the middle of winter.
One could only hope
that the rocket scientist widget bean counter
who recommended that the hospital be closed
along with the dipshit politicians and political party
who passed the legislation and budget
die as painful a death as Brian.
It’s a good light
and I think of Brian
every time I use it.
Isn’t it strange that inanimate objects
retain the ghosts of previous owners?
My darkroom equipment was bought
with my inheritance
from my Grand Father’s and Grand Mother’s estates
and even though I don’t use it anymore
I’m loathe to part with it.
I have a similar relationship
to some of the books on my shelves,
I go back to them on occasion
and it’s like visiting a dear friend.
Such is the wondrous insight
from using
dead man’s light.