Allenby Townsite

What if, when we emerged, we found the that the world had ended? On the edge of the old townsite with our rusty first cars, dark teenage fantasies and aching hearts, the sun parching us dry, gumboots slap-slapping at bare calves, we each of us faced our greatest fears. What would we become, if everything else fell away?

Allenby Townsite

I know we’re all looking for meaning, but I remember well
What the pine tree said to me on your mother’s land in the Similkameen
When we were eighteen (or maybe nineteen), full of big ideas and desperate profundity:
It said, “stop trying to be here,” and it showed me the wind

And my brother stood so still while we threw anything we could find
He said he knew he could be killed by any one man’s hand or furious will
He was afraid but he stayed at the foot of the hill; he was raw, you could see he was humble
We climbed an old abandoned mine and sat on the highest wall

I know you struggled in your skin, finding God in surprising places
You were full right to the brim, and spilling over with all you imagined
In the grass we could lie shoulder to chin, or hunt for the remnants of a town that had been
Burned to the valley ground so long ago

We walked the ridge with secrets and fervour, with an air gun and a hatchet
We knew we were not made for murder but we dreamed of a world without order
Where a boy could learn in the tracks of his father, and sleep in the trees, and live through the winter
We shot at soda cans and alder and ran down the hill

And I don’t know what we were seeking, but I know we never found it,
And I remember well the pine tree on your mother’s land in the Similkameen,
When we were kids and the world was ending, and the wind blew and made us all dizzy
It said, “you have every right to be here, child – don’t you know?”

(c) Kesia Nagata 2018

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