Sketch of a Na­tion

Prairie Fire - - DARIUS KINNEY -

Blenk­in­sop val­ley, flood­plains dressed in pa­tri­otic garb,

and you are dis­en­fran­chised, car­i­ca­ture of

the fail­ure that’s a big hair-do, a score of os­teod­e­fi­cien­cies,

a new frailty, bulk­head of man­u­fac­turer de­fects, bulk­head of the wit­ness

of a cen­tury of pa­per­cuts, both heavy and thin with an his­to­rian’s weight,

liv­ing in the dun­geon of hon­esty.

Your hatch­back beck­ons, tick­ing on the shoul­der, not pic­tured here,

sup­posed to shut off five min­utes ago, its mis­placed loy­alty go­ing on.

There is no choice but fur­ther, into the flood­plain, farmwa­ter al­ka­line, wet socks,

a wrist­watch so­bri­ety, a wrist­watch’s tally which is sacro­sanct,

and so some­thing is gain­ing in­cred­i­ble weight, a pro­fan­ity,

some­thing unin­sur­able and lonely,

and wear­ing the dis­fig­ured arm of some gar­den va­ri­ety work ac­ci­dent.

There is the smell of booze.

The poplars make the sound of jin­go­ism, their DNA

of old cur­ren­cies, or some old cur­rency’s DNA of them,

their mon­strous colo­nial for­ma­tion, the last Diefen­baker loy­al­ists.

There is no choice but fur­ther. So, drag­ging your wrist­watch

across the field to­ward noth­ing

par­tic­u­lar. A pop­u­lous of mud flies fills your oe­soph­a­gus with an un­govern­able

sound. The time you were charged

with writ­ing it all down, over­worked pen­man­ship,

the noise of Canada liv­ing in your fin­ger­nails.

Fur­ther on, the geese make a mu­nic­i­pal­ity of their cous­in­hood,

a mu­nic­i­pal­ity of coun­try songs, a sales­man’s short term mem­ory,

that kind of dis­own­er­ship, mu­nic­i­pal­ity of laugh­ter, an in­vis­i­bil­ity

that is without tele­vi­sion al­to­gether. The real trou­ble is,

you’ve never for­got­ten any­thing.

It comes to you then, in the wind’s holo­graph,

its turn­coat voice, its old grey and no­ta­rized pre­dic­tions.

It is a topo­graph­i­cal map, it is the lo­ca­tion of a farm­house,

a point-of-in­ter­est, the el­e­va­tion of an an­ces­tral fail­ure,

a heart­break, some­thing be­lieved kid­napped

in the ’80s. It is a taunt, some­thing from the farm­house

and it is fa­mil­iar and a lit­tle sex­ual. No wait,

it is all these farm­houses, pre­tend­ing to be aban­doned.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.