well intentionedpublished in Ottawa by above/ground press
if we had been willing to put a mixture of eggs
and cracked pepper into the car’s broken radiator
we probably could have made the drive back
to Ottawa, according to the gentleman at the
Head Lake Trailer Park on the side of Monck Road.
we responded with pleasantries to the suggestion, then
my uncle turned to me and said “no fucking way.”
his Beemer sat there, grille and rad cracked by the
raccoon racing too slowly across the county road,
whose eyes glared in our headlights for a few seconds
before it was curtains, lights out. it was no competition.
it was no fair, but there is a lesson to be learned for
when you try to do something halfway
then try to turn back: it ends badly.
halfway to the other side, and in a moment
the raccoon went from being in the clear to another
“common causes of death” statistic. I only accept
some fault as passenger. as it always does, it all happened
so fast. behind the wheel, my uncle wished he had
braked or swerved instead of barrelling ahead.
between the raccoon, my uncle, and me,
all three of us will look back at that night with regrets.
if we could do it again, we wouldn’t.
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Chris Johnson (he/they) is a settler poet from Scarborough currently living on unceded Algonquin Anishinabe territory. He is the Managing Editor for Arc Poetry Magazine, a board member at the Ottawa Arts Council, and a member of the creative collective VII.
This is Johnson's second above/ground press title, after Gravenhurst, a failed record of a roadtrip in haibun (2019).
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