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.