on gaspereau road

We can’t count the Cree,

the Mi’kmaq and Métis and Haida

women who have disappeared.


Some turn up on farms

or rivers, like Priscilla did

the day before Grade 9

and no one could tell it was her but Ida

knew by the heart on her shoulder.


There’s another good thing about tattoos

Ida said. I remember it was Ida

because last year they found her

in the grass by the old highway

and her arm said Priscilla

in the same place.


Some days I want to forget

more than where I put my keys.


At least I can walk to the river

without jumping in.


The bridge is a problem.

Like railway ties, two-by-fours

balance on cables from bank

to bank. Planks helter-skelter above

barely clear the current.


And the Gaspereau keeps turning

to shallows. The cow path

there dissolves in muck

so I crouch on the planks and focus


until it’s Diefenbaker Bridge

thrumming with trucks and trailers

bent on Waskesiu before dark.


If you’d rested like that

wouldn’t someone have tried

to talk you out of it?




Ehâ, ekosi.


So I keep walking

down Gaspereau Road,

my mind on Priscilla and Ida

and the others, around


curves with narrow shoulders

and steep ditches, thinking

any of us’d be hard to miss.


When a Honda whines

into the bend, I can’t tell

if the driver’s grin is hello

or you’re lucky this time.

For three more steps

towards Gaspereau

a grasshopper steers

clear of summer’s end

in my crooked hand.



Nahmoyâhpô: no way

Ehâ, ekasi: yes, it’s true / that’s it