Against Seven Oaks

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1. The brakes of a bus. The furnace waking. Any soft sounds
were your words — the way you whispered over the phone. A city becoming mine and part of me.

The chime of the clock and the direction of your eyes. A rooster crowing while The Clash was calling.

In all these connections, we were representative of nothing.

It was all quite impossible and an early form of madness. But you called it something else, what you thought you saw through the pews and beyond the hesitation to push past knees into the airplane aisle.

2. Since you painted me under an incandescent halo, could you tell me how to operate it?17888551_10154437782877267_306316691_n

3. Not responsible for my actions in your dreams.

I dreamt of a poster. I was inside a poster. I was walking within the snow-covered tundra of a poster. On a quest to find the part-Kurd part-jinn freedom fighter, I happened on a floodlight shining on a polar bear. Its blue shadow arced up the mountainside and resembled a viaduct like the one you used to pass under daily, in Kemerburgaz near the Black Sea, across which your grandfathers and grandmothers were being born.

That’s the simile, not where you were.17887626_10154437783352267_1556760270_o

Above the shadow on the snow in the sky — on the glossy paper — was the word “God” written in Ottoman ink.

The tundra turned to the shadow plains of Mesopotamia at dusk and thirsty Damascus below, but you, transient hawk, were everywhere that that poster was replicated and plastered to poles of commercial streets.

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5. I saw two police cars, then a third, parked along Victoria Drive. A group of seven or so gathered at the corner of the far end of the park. As I approached, I noticed the air was cold. Long furrows criss-crossed the wet field of McSpadden Park. 17836789_10154442542872267_770292340_oI wondered if this was what was at stake: the dug up grass. I thought momentarily someone had made one of those images only seen from the sky. Crop circles on soccer field grass. That’s all? That’s your legacy? But it was only diagonal lines criss-crossing.

The handcuffed man looked at me as I walked past him on the sidewalk. Two women talked with three police. Another stood with the man in cuffs. I looked away then back and the cuffed man was still looking at me, almost bemused. Reminded me of someone I’d abandoned fifteen years ago in a library somewhere. Something about fleas and not accepting criticism. Something about this man in his oversize jacket and pulled-in shoulders. Something there.

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6. I moved my photos from 2015 off my computer and made space.

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Illustrations by Neil Peter Dyck

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