poetry

I Remember
Translation by Alison Newall
Author: Patrice Desbiens, "Sudbury : Po√®mes 1979–1985"

I remember a station wagon cutting the night slicing the northern night the way a hunting knife splits its prey We're there, all of us, my mother sister her husband and children all in this car, Johnny B. Good Leblanc driving his face glowing vaguely in the light from the dashboard I am the only passenger not sleeping as we drive a sea of bruised green on either side My sister sleeping on the front seat darkness slipping in and out of her open mouth The night is long and smooth The night is long and smooth The night is long and smooth The night is long and Suddenly something rips its fabric moving there and the windshield becomes a cinemascope screen the lights of Twentieth Century Fox and Gulf Western lighting the being animal moose in the middle of the road who freezes stares at his destiny, heading for him at 60 miles an hour His eyes his eyes his eyes o god his gaze until the last second and the muted impact of steel and flesh And my sister waking with a wild and final scream as if the soul of the moose had entered her in dying and then the silence the silence of our silence in the silence between Timmins and Toronto.

Alison Newall is a Montreal writer and translator. Her work has appeared in carte blanche, Hejira and Canadian Women Studies. She is currently working on her first chapbook. (This translation first appeared on a Words on the Move translation project.)

Timmins native Patrice Desbiens' first collection of poetry appeared in 1972 and was followed by many more. Nominated for the Governor General's Award in 1985, he has won a variety of honours for his work, including the 1997 Prix Champlain prize.