Le paradis n'est pas artificiel …

October 27, 2015


Forty-five minutes west of town is the rez, population
hidden by the organic anti-grid ways that rezes have.
Some of the helter-skelter houses are freshly finished
with new vinyl siding; others are only half covered,
plain plywood bending to the considerable elements.
There are no obvious reasons why the cards were dealt
one way to that family, another to this. There’s always
something amiss here, as though a mere cough might
dislodge something bad from the wood-smoke breath
of the Valley, something better kept deep. Only just last
week some kids who were out quadding tilted up a log
and exposed the decaying body of a young girl. Naked,
like no one else around. It never gets any warmer here
than by the river in spring: full of fish, heavy as children.
Native guys tie each other up and hang above the rapids,
gaffing salmon straight from the unseen. Quick as can be,
waiting kids eat the fish eyes raw: they call them candy.
Then smoke from each ensuing feast fills the air sweetly
–a mix of moose steak from fall kills; of pine mushrooms
smelling of cinnamon; fry bread and berry jam, and grizzly
bear sausage, rich and redolent on the tongue – mouthfuls
of prayer we niido* couldn’t understand, but could taste.

*"White people" in the Wet'suwet'en language of North Western BC.
This poem will appear soon in The Antigonish Review.

Posted by Delire at October 27, 2015 12:05 PM