Blog

Len

Author: Dave Weir - Date: Friday, September 07, 2018

Len,

on the day you died
i flew your flag

at seventy nine degrees
North latitude

before the pack ice and glaciers
Arctic Terns dove and fed

above the walls
of our northernmost RCMP post
in a crisp north wind

Len,

Pride flew

______________________________

i remember,

in your living room
a few weeks before
we spoke of your flag

i remember,

your words

“Dave, this isn’t about being gay,
or transgender,
this is about everyone,
about diversity”

______________________________

a week after you died
and a little further north
i sat atop the bare rock
of Loon Island

i led my group here
and then,
then we waited,
cornered by an East wind and the heavy ice it drove
unable to advance, unable to retreat
our kayaks tethered and idle
the airstrip we sought,
still 30 kilometres away

through the day and night i sat
watching for an opening
in the swirling ice
responsibility,
heavy on my shoulders

ice pans crashing and groaning
watching
violence in the currents

i remembered,
talking,
laughing with you
guiding with you
sharing responsibilities
in the decades gone by

at 4 am
i thought there might be an opening
a gamble
a longshot in the ice,
eight lives in my hands

heart in my throat
i woke my group
“get up, we’re going,
we need to move fast”

packing my gear
i looked up
an Arctic Fox stood there
not ten feet from me
velvety brown fur and gold yellow eyes
patiently
it watched me

and calm returned

______________________________

i remember,

when i left your hospital room
i said to you

“I will look for you in the Arctic”

i think i found you
or maybe

you found me

______________________________

Len,

in Alexandra Fiord
i flew your flag

and now your flag

Len,

your flag has become mine