Travelogue

by Ceridwen Hall

Travelogue
     Edmonton

When I cannot see the earth or hear beyond
the roar of the engine, nothing seems real
but my cramped animal legs because
unmoving. I dwell often in my restless mind
so if now a water bird sits in my lap
I am grateful, refrain from doubt. The sky
doesn’t change when I travel, only my relation
to it. Parsley runs feral across the garden
and the boy brings me a handful. Sunflowers
grew also, but they are gone. Already
the trees here have turned, the leaves fallen
to crumble underfoot, beneath the wheels
of the wagon. Everything the children watch
is animated, everything we say, I hear over
the engine still buried in my ears. We pass
three rivers leaving town. My sister doesn’t ask
any wrong questions and I believe she knows
my journey north was also a form of time
travel. It is cold enough to want layers,
warm enough we can feel the sun against
our backs. We speak of our father
and our mothers. I am thanked for sharing
mine. I didn’t realize anyone had noticed.
I am not alive in the past and then I am torn,
as a child, between mother and sisters
a quiet battle, mostly words, most unspoken.
Now my nephew draws dinosaurs, says we are
going to find their bones. My niece asks
and I answer, again, the meteor. I end
with because. A hare crosses the highway
and survives. When we speak of our elder
sister, we speak with compassion for what
we do not understand. When I must leave,
the girl wraps her arms around my legs.