Unknown Country

I’m pumping gas at the EnRoute in Cambridge; the highway’s near enough
to hitchhike. The Canadian flag and the flag of Ontario hover furiously,
as RVs from NY and MI and MN pull in. A young Pakistani man
in a Tim Horton’s uniform pours oil into his Corvette’s engine,
and as the wind slams against him and flings the litre of honey across the car,
I remember breaking a beehive myself in a tree but ending up with the sting.
The wind teleports to the woman in high heels, pirouetting over the windshield
of her Land Rover, a squeegee pointing from her hand, water spouting,
black as blood, and her title, now, shall be: ‘Fountain Woman, with Hermès Purse.’
My smile turns into a squint, as I glance skyward past the open roof
of the gasport, and notice the clouds, the kind apparent only in childhood,
and at that time the kind that made things visible. I stand here.
For a moment, I guess, the scent of carwash, mixed with diesel, is dormant.
The machines have lost their juice, the electronic beeps have given up
their voice, the wind only from the two trucks, 36 wheels, loaded with timber
from the BC coast and bound for Nova Scotia, pulling out onto the 401,
the traffic all around me tentatively imitating the hum of the tide going out
to meet itself again.

– ph 31/5/17 Toronto, Waterloo, Guelph, Cambridge

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