Map of the Kootenays, 4


i don’t need a map.

i can tell my way from the curve of the street, palette of colors

along Carbonate or Stanley Street. i know the trees

turn an otherworldly gold, and then overnight disappear to

the first snowfall, Oso closes, a powder day! the locals say

Elephant Mountain can feel like an old friend,

like a golden gate opening to the natural world,

like it’s not even there, but mostly like

a wall. We know the lines of the mountain’s grief more than our own.

Slick of lake disappears ’round the bend. Who else has lived here

before us, the Sinixt, they still live

here they are told, “you are extinct.” This place, called “paradise,”

this place called “a bubble.”

And when i walk through

this land i know

i will never return, here

Celina Silva is a fifth-year poetry major at the University of Victoria. She has a Liberal Arts Diploma in Peace Studies from Selkirk College, and is originally from Nelson, British Columbia.