Dispatches

Mission

BRADLEY PETERS

electronically
in neon pink above licence plates fast
through blind four-ways, where T-shirts say things
like
in black felt
where the butcher on the strip is content
to chew the fat for thirty-four years and the cobbler
holed up in his clapboard barrack pre-dates concrete
remembers skid row for its cedars
humped down the grey clay of James Street, the swish
of his pink tongue, palm charted across the shop
over head-high shoeboxes, shaking
for age and the rough terrain, across main, frosted
glass front, down to the river with a splash
where spring salmon run, where some fly
ten thousand clicks to reel upstream cursing
past the cottonwoods, blackberries, around the bar
to return broken mumbling slipshod beauty
where levees rise to reclaim Matsqui flats
where black bears sally calf slunk and hipsters
reconsider backyard stashes of scrumpy, where that burly angel
called uncle cooks basement voodoo juice
which the Mennonite kids slurp in concession
from the pitted ladle, where your actual uncle lives
in a camper behind the skate park, dickers a lift
to emerg for the one-legged man stole his phone
fourth this month, where you live in a flophouse
where two Ziplocs of crushed Percocets fall divine
from the closet and the fir plank walls are packed
with newspaper from 1912, where the snow-weighted roof droops
where a plow is for pussies, where the coot
wheeling his bike blind for sleet looks like your father
smiling up, afro and glasses ranting
down Second Ave
where The Man ships inmates of the shuttered asylum
where mental illness is the new economy
of light roast beans and warehouse pubs
where Westminster Abbey of Saint Joseph on the hill
is besieged with sunset virgins groping
for a sweet little plot with a view
where Heritage Park is constructed upon the rotten stone
of British Columbia’s oldest and last-closed residential school
where plaques recount pioneer adventures, where the cemetery
for Oblates of Mary is fenced in twelve-foot gilded spires
where the children are silent and their parents
step softly, shape the names with their lips.

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BRADLEY PETERS

Bradley Peters’ work has appeared in Grain, subTerrain and Geist, and is forthcoming in the Malahat Review. Peters won the 2019 Short Grained Contest for poetry and was recently shortlisted for the Ralph Gustafson poetry prize. He lives in Mission, BC.


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The 19th Annual Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest

The writing contest whose name is almost as long as the entries! Deadline is May 20, 2024.

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The 19th Annual Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest

The writing contest whose name is almost as long as the entries! Deadline is May 20, 2024.