by: Jillian Christmas

Stepping off the plane in Whitehorse

The last thing I expect to see

is home

Imagining I might roam this great black north

not quite alone but close enough.

Chris points out the window

“That’s Antoinette’s, Caribbean food

if you’re feeling in need of a pick-me-up

She’s from Tobago.”

And I’m not sure if he knows that it’s

the island that bred these bones,

That just the song of its name on his lips

is home.

And what strange things are we

Creatures of the Diaspora

treasures of the Caribbean sea

Knocking our knees together in parkas

chattering teeth

Up where the trees thin and creak

stretching high the heavens to

seek the queerest light

What strange escapes have we made in the night

to want to call this place home?

And I do.

I do

Feel the ghosts

Of women not unlike us

Examples of resilience and fortitude

Pulling more than gold and dust and opportunity

Out of this blistering cold.

I am told the Alaska Highway

Was an engineering feat

Built under the doubt and bloody weight of Jim Crow

And what strange things are we

That we can see a barrier

but build a road;

I know this to be true:

There is not always a way around,