Conversation 52


It Be Real

Dan Bergeron

Notice of Services and Repairs

Mahak Jain

I received a notice today about the potholes
with a rough-drawn map of the zone of concern
and our address printed in block letters.
I know where we live, but I don’t know
where to find us among the houses
that shimmer, the driveways like tongues.
We are grown mossy with fences and ivy,
topiaries and birdfeed, petite Juliette balconies.
Is this what we meant by services
and repairs to the property?
Sometimes as I walk the roads that corner
the land, nicked by flat white signs
delivered seven years ago,
I think I recognize a head asleep
on a dead-end, a tail that fans out like a lake.
Where’s the notice that tells me
the names this land used to be called,
the cracked memories, what we swept
under strips of pavement?

Winter Songs

Conor Kerr

Two coyotes. Full winter coats puffed out. Follow their morning run through the back alleys and train tracks under generations of graffiti and abandoned murals of 80s sports stars. The discarded shells of burned-out and abandoned land-value-only buildings stand watch over their paw prints left in snow not yet spoiled. Somewhere above magpies announce their arrival into territory. Angels welcoming gods of a city gone back to the land through trumpet fanfare, and the remnants of an O’ Canada anthem playing on endless repeat from abandoned stadiums. 

Two coyotes walk back a hundred and fifty years to a time before skyscrapers and suburbs. Man-made lakes, dams, bridges, and power plants, and dig up the bones of ancestors laid along the rivers’ banks. Watch them rise up to dismantle the structures placed on top of quarter sections that divided a country. They spool back barb wire and let the bison pound the houses into kindling for their winter fires. Marble legislature pillars crushed under the weight of an elk skull. A coyote’s god lives in bones.