Van­der­hoof Girls

Geist - - Findings - GIL­LIAN WIG­MORE

From Ori­ent. Pub­lished by Brick Books in 2014. Gil­lian Wig­more is the au­thor of three books of po­etry, in­clud­ing soft ge­og­ra­phy, which won the 2008 Relit Award. She lives in Prince Ge­orge, BC.

Af­ter Charles Lil­lard some­times you think of her and her shot­gun wed­ding, her dad danc­ing barefoot till his foot­steps bled. you think of her and you think of her sis­ter, who mar­ried a mor­mon el­der when they were both fif­teen and she was the pret­ti­est, smartest girl in the school be­fore she dis­ap­peared and be­fore you thought se­ri­ously of burn­ing the whole thing down, then left in­stead.

you think of her gi­ant farm truck and ap­ples and peanut but­ter, Si­mon and Gar­funkel blar­ing from popped speak­ers, the two of you singing and the road grass all burnt up and hope­less. you think of her mum, who was quiet and worked with trou­bled youth, and then you think of her with her eyes brim­ming, the both of you stand­ing dumb in the foyer of the friend­ship cen­tre hold­ing eyes, not hands, be­cause her mum was thrown from a horse, killed, and you knew no other moth­er­less child your same age.

you stop think­ing be­cause it hurts. you’ve spent too much time and words on land­scape. you owe them more, you’ve been pre­tend­ing you don’t be­long but all along you’ve known: you’re her, no mat­ter your trav­els, your school­ing, your po­ems. you know her too well—her and her and you.

it’s self-preser­va­tion, all this writ­ing, re­mind­ing your­self where you’re not, where you could be, where you’ll fi­nally be: the plot of land above the hos­pi­tal your great-grandad bought in 1925 to house the whole ram­shackle lot of you when you die. You lie star­ing, wide eyes to the ceil­ing, remembering, fear­ing fall­ing to earth, suc­cumb­ing to the cur­rent, to some home­town boy, or some good old-fash­ioned home birth in Van­der­hoof, two miles from the fam­ily homestead. cock­eyed into the world’s faulty wiring. cased in black silk with gold-leaf let­ter­ing and printed on hand-made blue Fabri­ano pa­per, each illustration (the story had been il­lus­trated with Tantric paint­ings) hand-tipped and each copy num­bered. Borges asked me to de­scribe it. He lis­tened care­fully and then ex­claimed: “But that’s not a book, that’s a box of choco­lates!” and pro­ceeded to make a gift of it to the em­bar­rassed post­man.

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