Stuck in a Slippery Scene 

Allan Lake
Deep winter, deeper snow, icy country road
north of rural village in deepest Canada.
My drunk uncle is driving the old Pontiac
which is filled with blue smoke and tension, 
although my aunt is running a commentary
in her ‘stage’ voice as if we are all enjoying 
a most jolly excursion. Men, drunk or sober,  
got front seats, had heater on, windows up.
Chist’s sake, woman, it’s freezing out there!
We had already stopped so I could vomit. 
Gets ‘car sick’, mother apologises again.
A young child, I’m hemmed in between 
aunt and mother. I felt sick then; feel 
a bit sick now to recall it all, despite 
it just being how my family tootled 
along in the inebriated last century.
Nothing unusual, nobody froze
to death or hit a deer, that day. 
Bloody deer through the wind-
shield is another story. 

I survived my dear family and later 
my kids managed to survive theirs.
Trips in cars, appendix scars, odd laughs.
We did get stuck in the snow that day
but managed to get back home with help 
from shovel in trunk (everyone had 1) 
and sober passer-by whose face failed 
to freeze into my memory. I try to dig 
out of what drifts about, in and out 
of focus, with help of a psychologist, 
who must have family, must have her 
own slippery scenes to deal with 
and yet here she is … patiently
digging others out for a living.

Allan Lake is a poet from Allover, Canada who now lives and writes in Allover, Australia. Some coincidence! His latest chapbook of poems, ‘My Photos of Sicily’, was published by Ginninderra Press (Aus) in 2020. It contains no photos, only poems.



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