The End of the Road

Martin Ott


My father built roads in Alaska in places that buckled from frost and thaw. It was like drawing lines with a pen that had no ink. He has sold his place in Fairbanks and is now a retired vagabond. He speaks about the legends of the road, the places where it ends. Once a stretch of asphalt just disappeared into a pocket of land, the planet a thief when it wants to be. The marriage of man and earth is not lasting he told me over drinks. My mother was a stretch that could not patched, would not be paved over. The heart can be a dead end. There are places he flew to in the bush that did not want to have easy passages. The earthquake in Fairbanks turned rivers into roads. He speaks of blocked arteries and crisped bridges. The story of the gunman who shot up the village at road's end before driving his truck into the sea. How many roads does he have left and do any lead to me?