Things to Do around Banff When You’re Black

Act surprised whenever bartenders or / wait staff reveal they’re Aussies

after Gary Snyder

Hop the gondola ride up to Sulphur Mountain
and feel your body glide-step through lodgepole
pines and spruce. Everything about the world is
evergreen. Take a panoramic pic and watch
these bare-faced peaks fill silence and take
advantage of all the sky they can inhabit.
Act surprised whenever bartenders or
wait staff reveal they’re Aussies.
Nod in agreement when they repeat
snowboarding is the meaning of life.
We’re all stories tumbling outside ourselves.
Trip over to Lake Louise, try to tear
your attention away from its glacial
aqua waves while you think in simile,
each view its own line of poetry.
Do the return-nod with other one-drop
descendants. There are so few of you,
people assume you all know each other.
Marvel at another thumbs-up, smoke-bruised
apple-red sunset before daylight rattles
off the peaks. Smell the charred sulphurated
air climbing down from the BC interior
and hotboxing the great outdoors.
Hear white-tailed deer and elk sprinkle out
of the bush to mouth cloudberries, everyone
and everything immersed in the threat seared
oceans have ripped open.

Michael Fraser
Michael Fraser is an award-winning poet. His latest collection is With My Eyes Wide Open.