I Remember

Translated by Alison Newall

From “Sudbury : Poèmes 1979–1985”

I remember a station wagon cutting the night
slicing the northern night the way a hunting knife
splits its prey
We’re there, all of us,
my mother sister her husband and children all
in this car,
Johnny B. Good Leblanc driving his face glowing
vaguely in the light from the dashboard
I am the only passenger not sleeping as we
drive a sea of bruised green on
either side
My sister sleeping on the front seat
darkness slipping in and out of her open mouth
The night is long and smooth
The night is long and smooth
The night is long and smooth
The night is long and Suddenly
something rips its fabric moving
there and
the windshield becomes a cinemascope screen the lights of
Twentieth Century Fox and Gulf Western lighting
the being animal moose in the middle of the road
who freezes
stares at his destiny, heading for him at 60 miles an hour
His eyes his eyes his eyes o god his gaze until
the last second and the muted impact of steel and
And my sister waking with a wild and final
as if the soul of the moose had entered
her in
dying and then
the silence
the silence of our silence in
the silence between
Timmins and Toronto

Alison Newall is a Montreal writer and translator. Her work has appeared in carte blanche, Hejira and Canadian Women Studies. She is currently working on her first chapbook. (This translation first appeared on a Words on the Move translation project.)
Timmins native Patrice Desbiens' first collection of poetry appeared in 1972 and was followed by many more. Nominated for the Governor General's Award in 1985, he has won a variety of honours for his work, including the 1997 Prix Champlain prize.