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.