Last time wandering the same prairie
roads outside the city, last time parking
on the same patch of flattened grass
beside the trail marker. Last time climbing
over the barbed wire, last time waiting
for trucks to pass before crossing the dirt
highway. Last time brushing ticks off
the fabric of tucked socks, plucking not-yet
swollen abdomens. Last time descending
into the branches. Last time finding a way.
Last time feeling limbs snap back as I follow
you toward a path, last time reading the map.
Last time squishing purple berries between
index finger and thumb, last time feeling
numb. Last time swatting flies, last time
saying I’m thirsty, asking for a drink
from the bottle that you carry. Last time
deciding how much further to go, last
time pausing at the overlook for the same
tired photo, last time standing at rusted
tractors parked in a more or less straight line,
last time being tied to the grid superimposed
on the terrain, last time crouching beside
a hole in the ground waiting for a glimpse
of something living before turning away.
Cassidy McFadzean lives in Toronto. She is the author of Hacker Packer (M&S 2015), winner of two Saskatchewan Book Awards and a finalist for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award.