Poetry: “Air Canada” by Kirstin Ethridge

This poem helped my Monday for so many reasons:

Heavy Feather Review

We could fly to Thunder Bay on a plane,
kissing our palms and pressing them
to the cold metal exterior before boarding,
listening to the scarf-wearing flight attendant
rattle off safety instructions in English and en Français.

We used to joke, but now it’s true:
fuck America, I’ll take my chances with the cold.
Thunder Bay might be as backwards as home, but it’s
racist without Rebel flags,
its transphobia tucked under family ties.
Squint and we’re safe.

We’ll arrive in the snow,
salt from the runway stinging our skin
as we slip on black ice to the rental car.
It’s dark, but Grandma’s house is bright,
squatting on Mary Street across from the indigenous school.
When we wake up, my wife’s childhood mountain looms.
We’ll look at photos of snowbanks
taller than her toddler head.

The Trans-Canada Highway curves
between Fort William and Port Arthur.
Our tires glide along…

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