Westward U-Haul Gothic


Finalist for the 2015 Walrus Poetry Prize

b/c we’ve no cd player though we packed cds.

b/c I’m being driven through Manitoba in a benadryl haze.

b/c Manitoba goes on and on in its miraculous flatness.

b/c despite the flatness I keep thinking of Brontë’s moors.

b/c the wind shunts the u-haul like poor dramatic structure.

b/c back and forth—the rising action of open fields, the falling action of

b/c the climax of rumble strips.

b/c near Portage la Prairie a black oil train that is Heathcliff is about to
take the dangerous turn that is Catherine.

b/c the train takes the turn murderously slow and keeps going.

b/c the plot that is Heathcliff leaves but can’t actually leave the moment
that is Catherine behind.

b/c the rest is straight tracks and bad music.

b/c I wanna take a ride on your disco stick is the best lyric we’ve heard for
more than an hour.

b/c a late spring storm coats the side-view mirror in ice and the prairies
behind us are muddled.

b/c at Gladstone’s Happy Rock the crows are bullied by magpies.

b/c I can’t remember why smaller birds hate crows.

b/c the crows are now Heathcliff.

b/c at the Saskatchewan border the clouds clear.

b/c here I don’t know what Catherine is, maybe the ice melting, maybe
remembering that there was ice.

b/c all day the crows have a hard time of it.

b/c a boat unzips a river and I don’t know which river it is.

b/c 28 crows decide size is of little help and must rely on guile.

b/c when they’re not flying, the magpies wear wife beaters.

b/c Saskatchewan, up here, is not so flat and has more trees.

b/c it is not how I pictured it, these rolling hills, a horizon

b/c driving west into the sun feels too deliberate.

b/c in the evening light the telephone lines are white spider silk.

b/c ah, the voice of Catherine that is never unfiltered runs through those
lines that are slowly becoming obsolete.

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