Philip Armstrong


A Horizontal Light

You’re following the track across
the eastern slope above the town, just
like you do most days. The sun’s about
to drop below the northwest hills.
It shines a horizontal light upon

the grass bank at your side and casts
the life-sized shadows of a man with
an old dog. Next moment, from behind,
the shadow of a younger dog comes racing
through the others and away. And that’s

the whole of it, right there, or else
as near as you can get to it, and gone
more swiftly than a man walks, dog runs,
sun sets, shadows follow over grass.



Philip Armstrong lives in Lyttelton, New Zealand, and teaches at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. His latest scholarly book is What Animals Mean (Routledge, 2008) and he has published short fiction in the literary journals Sport and JAAM, and in A Foreign Country: New Zealand Speculative Fiction (Random Static, 2010).