ST. LAWRENCE, NORTH SHORE

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Smashed with a fingertip.
My blood smeared
on my arm. The unity
of all being. Black flies
so easy to kill. A whale
cruises the shore, tide
coming in. We pour wine,
unzip the netting to drink.
There is no end
to the road,
just a sign it stops,
and trucks, bulldozer, a man
who laughs when we get out
to see.

The end
of the road. After that,
ATVs:  sandy trails
with their bridges and stop
signs in Innu-aimun and French.
Inuksuit, acting like people,
stand by marking the way.
Sand bones, granite bones.
After that the boats.

What do the people
do here? Fish, kill
flies, stare at the endless
power lines, the listless trees.
Home, I suppose.
What we put up with
because it’s ours.

These people deserve
all the beauty they can find:
roses, birdsong, orange sunset clouds.
And what they make: blue
wooden pews, penknife-carved stars
in the vault of their church.
Blue-robed Mary, her open heart,
and Jesus, crowned above.
White cross with fishnets
and the names of their boats.
Wreaths of fabric flowers,
iron rooster on the tower, bells.

We stop in a wilted town
to eat our bread and cheese.
A one-armed man waters
baskets of geraniums hanging
from lampposts in the park.

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