to my sister, montreal

anyone who has ever found an old journal entry
knows the feeling of buzzing like a telephone wire
connected to the current of the past while at the same time remaining grounded in the present moment.
there is a curiosity that keeps company with these sensations,
like the sudden friendship of strangers whose questions open doors
to invasions of insight you never would have dared to invite into these conversations.
sometimes memory is like a virus.  it feeds off the uncertainty inside us that keeps us clinging to our beds
and our heads filled with the kinds of parasites we find in tide pools long after the waters have rushed out.
other times, deja vu hits us like flashbulbs or flu shots
so quick we couldn’t see it coming or we would have run
but it’s the medicine we needed to knock us flat, to hold us down,
otherwise we could have never begun to heal.
sister, you are the letter I wish I had written a long time ago.
to remind me then of the better parts of ourselves this nation should have never let go.

I can barely remember a time when we knew well enough to stand up when the hands of state pushed down;
there is an ocean these rivers should never stop feeding, and you are the waterfall that keeps them moving.
there is a fire these sparks should never stop kindling,
and you are electrons collecting our capacity into the voltage of remembrance, the flowering of joy.
I put my ear to the ground and I can feel your heartbeat gushing from the soil.
no one can drill for that.
I put my ear to the ground and I can hear your breath burning through the quick of our quietness.
no one can kill or kettle or barrel or bottle that.
you are the fuse bursting into flame.
we are stacks of dynamite thundering your name.
sister, you have been written like a rosary into the prayers of a nation:

montreal, montreal, montreal,
never stop reminding us who we have been.
montreal, montreal, montreal,
never stop reminding us who we are.
montreal, montreal, montreal, 
never stop reminding us who we can be.

 

 

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