A.W. French

Titled after a line from Aidan Chafe’s “Foxhole Diary”

Golden town where wheat stalks
the sunlight that stains it, from nearby hills
to the gas station city
cropped into patches of farmland,
home to BCs only corn drive-thru,
miles from Hope.

You died on the highway here,
never saw home, breathed methane last
and snapped behind a seatbelt
listening to loud music, nobody could collect
the fragments of your last words.

On the way to work I see a flattened squirrel
spread against the concrete like a trophy rug,
fields of poppies blooming behind fur.
A few blocks down Broadway
a goose lies still on a manhole,
beautiful black limp-necked speaker
of muted honks, both animals
still sleeping on the drive home.

I think of you in Chilliwack today,
roadkill at 22, shuffled off this mortal coil
and shoveled off highway one. You’re cleared
so traffic can continue
to clash with the Canadian countryside
when the sun makes its way over the hill
and the wheat has something to notice again.

Andrew William (A.W.) French is a poet and academic who was born and raised in North Vancouver, British Columbia. French holds a BA in English from Huron University College at Western University, and is pursuing an MA in English at UBC. His poems and book reviews have most recently appeared in PRISM International, The Hamilton Review of Books, The Lamp, and a number of other literary journals across North America and the UK. French writes poems, book reviews, and hosts Page Fright: A Literary Podcast.

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