Ledge at the Edge of the World

by Robert Scotellaro

I pull into a rest stop at the edge of the world. Who knew? My GPS has been acting up for weeks. But who could have anticipated this? There are people with their bare feet hanging over the edge, wiggling their toes in outer space. Lovers hugging and gazing out as if at a drive-in movie, families bunched together … All the “wrong turns” people are here, inadvertently brought to this spot where land ends. Is extinct. And there are no horizons. Only the universe to ponder without a road, a field, a mountain to landmark the transition. There is no floor like the Grand Canyon. There is only outer space. That star-bright dappled panoply. A road ending at the edge of all that vastness. All roads ending: paths of preconceptions, trails of mollifying knowns …

I don’t smoke (quit years ago) but go into the lone convenience store at the world’s end and buy a pack and a can of beer. Sit on the ledge with the others. No one speaks. It’s dark now and there are stars top and bottom. What else is there between them, other than the black spaces? The cigarette smoke burns my throat. The beer never tasted better. But there is no distraction capable of topping this. No grand notion. No presupposed meanderings. There are lights along the edge. There is an infinity of lights beyond that. I guzzle. Watch the cigarette smoke sail off into the unknown.