From Indigena Awry. Published by New Star Books in 2012. Marie Annharte Baker is a poet, essayist, playwright and winner of the 2015 Blue Metropolis First Peoples Literary Prize. She lives in Winnipeg.
Suspense at airport stopover. I walk back and forth to exercise. Cannot find a Timmies. Wonder what country I am in. Just Toronto. Then I see a star descending from the heavens via plane. He is a stellar presence in a First Nations universe. He’s an actor so he gives me a tip on how to pretend to speak French by adopting a fake accent and drooping a lip à la Chrétien. Shrug often too. I am on the way to Quebec and must bust through the language barrier. I know the word “poutine” so I will not starve for sure.
The flight attendant on the plane does not give out a Globe and Mail to me. Did she figure out I was “anglais” and “autochuck”? To her, I might be part Métisse but do not speak Michif. If I spoke in hand signals, the message that I want a Tim Horton donut might be mistaken for a terrorist threat. She might think I was suggesting a hole in the fuselage. Les amis pourquoi enough. I must learn to speak more French right away. How would I ask for a timbit? Do Canadian frequent flyers get their frequent fast food? I am starving.
On deese planes there is no room. Dis plane is so small for the fat ass or is that gross derrière. On the other plane I actually removed my shoes. Now I will have to say Excusez moi but I won’t be able to add a reason. My feet get hot before the rest of me gets turned on. I will have to get into a yoga posture to tie my running shoe. Sacré bleu.
Un peu too! Wow, I am speaking Français. My adviser said to say “un peu” a lot. It means “just tiny”. Minuscule, right? It would not help me to always talk this way. What if I met a well hung savoir faire dude? I must use discretion.
Always I get the wing on the plane. Like at a turkey dinner, I get to savour the part that might be used for soup. Aha! Has dis turkey been basted for instance as I do not want to get pregnant accidentally, eh? Excusez moi. I was thinking too much in 75 Anglais and it might be rude to explain all dis anxiety in another language barely taught in high school.
This plane will take hours plus of butt crammed into a crevice called a seat. My cheeks are to be pressured all the trip so they will become multicoloured. Multiculture maybe. I want a snack and dream of flying on an Aboriginal run hairline. I would get a baloney sandwich as a food preference. Ask for it by name. Tube Steak, please.
Maybe I am starting to speak broken Michif? I am broke usually. Oui, my blood has been thinned not by the injected semen of a known or unknown donor. No turkey baster or Petri dish for me. My dad gave away sturdy sperm cells which travelled the rugged canal to my mother’s womb to decide my fate. Now that was a dangerous trip. Birthing was a tight squeeze as I weighed 13 pounds.
Need to travel more in Canada so I do not cling to the memory of the nearest Timmies. I need to be a bit more comfortable multicultural when I do.