“45th Parallel” by Robin Wyatt Dunn

We will not subside, for there can be no epiphany; we march into the sand for the egrets, hunting them with our knives.

No other faith is real to me now, than hunting.  I have left behind my name and my tongue and my face;  people who were once my family.

Now I can be satisfied by the sun alone;  and the harsh looks of the tourists and locals, who, in their beautiful illiteracy, cannot understand the expressions I make.

It is not so strange; it is only Canada.  The basement of the killing floor of the empire, nurtured by griefs so long the people take them for parties, and tell one another they are lucky to be in the slaughter line.

I long for these deliverances but fear them when they come; as great silent storms of light.

– –

“Did the embassy tell you to bring a compliance document?”

“I don’t know.”

“Any more criminal charges since these last?”

“No.”

The airline woman shakes my hand and we drift into the circle of the people of Quebec, who have stopped to weep at a wedding proposal.

“She can always say no later,” I tell the airline woman.

She raises her hand for me to high-five.

“To those with experience,” she says, nodding. “These young people have so much hope.”

– –

What does it mean that I am exiled? The ancients always longed for home;  beset in the Roman provinces for their infelicities. For their big mouths. But I long for nowhere;  everywhere to me is now equally frightening. The Earth itself. And everything is more beautiful.

– –

“It is very quiet here,” the cabbie says. “Good for studying.”

“Have you been on the river?”

“Oh no.”

– –

“When I was a boy we didn’t have this bilingual thing,” the workman says. “They held me back a year to learn English.”

“I’m Henry,” he says, and shakes my hand.

Later, when I give my hand to the Rogers Telephone man, he will not shake it.

Every day that passes I know better why we went to war. It was not a war against England. They were wars against Canada.

– –

The bird is Leda;  and I am Zeus, and the mountains grow within me, water and mist. I will kill every name if I can, like Joyce. One by one by one.

I press the blade into its throat and watch the spurt of blood.

 


Robin Wyatt Dunn was born in Wyoming in 1979. He is a graduate student in creative writing at the University of New Brunswick, Canada.

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