Map of the Kootenays, 4
i don’t need a map.
i can tell my way from the curve of the street, palette of colors
along Carbonate or Stanley Street. i know the trees
turn an otherworldly gold, and then overnight disappear to
the first snowfall, Oso closes, a powder day! the locals say
Elephant Mountain can feel like an old friend,
like a golden gate opening to the natural world,
like it’s not even there, but mostly like
a wall. We know the lines of the mountain’s grief more than our own.
Slick of lake disappears ’round the bend. Who else has lived here
before us, the Sinixt, they still live
here they are told, “you are extinct.” This place, called “paradise,”
this place called “a bubble.”
And when i walk through
this land i know
i will never return, here
Published online July 28 2018.
Celina Silva is a fifth-year poetry major at the University of Victoria. She has a Liberal Arts Diploma in Peace Studies from Selkirk College, and is originally from Nelson, British Columbia.