‘Up North’ by Frances Du

19 December, 2016 0 comment

Illustration by Jimmy Liang

We take the scenic route.
Heading up North the land dotted with wildlife,
farms the size of stadiums, one that sells only eggs,
the other, wild blueberries. Rocks ahead break out from their shells,
forming fissures, jagged lines you want to smooth
with your hands, the color of thyme and cinnamon.
Breathing in the air is like gaining new lungs untouched by the city
lit with gas and oil. It’s so nice and we are only five miles away, two pit stops,
family van driving past Muskoka to the tip where there are mountains
and waterfalls if you’re thirsty. There’s Twiggs,
the only coffee shop in town, a store for party favors,
another for Momma Poon’s Thai Food. Everyone sleeps at 8.
If you want to watch the sunset go to King’s Landing, not the other
one by the Super 8; that’s where all the derelicts go.
There are the kids and the newlywed, but most are retired
and head South during the winter. The cold can be brutal here
but that seems like an imaginary thought in this summer heat which
noses its way into every crevice and contour of the body, denimed out.
There are the boats, the rivers rats. There are the regulars
having chili and salad at Swiss Chalet, the lone movie theater.
10 minutes out of town, a strawberry field ripe for picking.
We trample inside. A young redhead making jam is bewildered
by my face, my otherness. The waitress recommends at dinner:
how about the Oriental chicken?
She means nothing by it but everywhere we go, eyes follow,
landing on our squid ink hair, pinching our arms.
We watch a bachelorette party unfold at a table behind us.
These girls have known each other forever, bedazzled
and bemoaning time passing, trading grade school gems,
stories about the unfuckable. When the bugs come out,
we rally inside. On the drive back we try to decide on
what to make with all those berries. Maybe jam or a milkshake.
My sister whispers into my ear, the moonlight glinting off
her necklace. Maybe even a pie.


Frances Du is a poet and photographer based in Toronto, Ontario. Her work has been published in the Hart House Review and The Literary Review of Canada. She is currently working on her first book of poems, PORTRAITS. You can connect with her @frannywrites.

Illustration by Jimmy Liang. You can also find him on Instagram

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