Failed Seances for Rita Mac­neil

Geist - - Findings - LU­CAS CRAW­FORD

From Sideshow Con­ces­sions. Pub­lished by In­vis­i­ble in 2015. Craw­ford’s po­etry has been pub­lished in the Lit­er­ary Re­view of Canada, Antigo­nish Re­view, PRISM In­ter­na­tional and Best Cana­dian Po­etry (2015). Sideshow Con­ces­sions won the 2015 Robert Kroetsch Award for In­no­va­tive Po­etry. Craw­ford lives in Vancouver.

I.

Rita, you re­quested that your ashes be held in a teapot—two if nec­es­sary, you said. Low days, I browse plus-size cas­kets (They are all pink or blue)

But you took death with milk and sugar, long steep.

Rita, we are both mem­bers of the fat neo-scot­tish di­as­pora.

Don’t tell me it doesn’t ex­ist, sweet dar­lin’, un­til you are the only fat trans­sex­ual at a Rankin Fam­ily con­cert in Mon­treal.

Un­til you feel more at home than you have all year when

Ray­lene (1960–2012) thumbs-ups your half-ton dance moves in the front row dur­ing that last last encore.

Fare thee well, love.

Will we never meet again no more?

II.

In Grade Two, I sang with your coalmin­ing choir,

The Men of the Deep. There is some­thing ter­ri­fy­ing about a hun­dred pre­pubescent squirts squeak­ing out the high falsetto tones of “We Rise Again” over the min­ers’ sea of cap­sized bass tones. The high­est note

of the song comes at the word “child” and we screamed it. We didn’t yet have the sad­ness that keeps you from even try­ing those high notes that take you from ours to other worlds and back again.

A miner comes for­ward in con­certs for a mus­ta­chioed solo.

He was on the CBC the day you died, hav­ing an open cry.

They all wear hel­mets on­stage.

They are all Henny Penny, ever hard­hat-ready for an­other fall­ing sky.

Rita, did I ever tell you my great un­cle Mi­ley died in the mines?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.