In Search of the Toxic Berry Patch

Engagement

By Janelle Baker, McGill University §

In Memory of the late “Cibomb” Clement Auger

Cibomb. Photo by Janelle Baker.

Rattling down a dusty oil field road
in his little aqua truck
headlights on as company safety protocols mandate
Me, 8 months pregnant
nervously remembering
his accident last winter on the South Wabasca Lake ice
in which he lost sight in one eye
but I had been asking for weeks
to try and find the place with the sign
we visited years ago
the perfect camping spot
bushy jack pines
bright fine sand
thumb-sized iridescent blueberries
across from an oil and gas site
the bold white sign that told the grandchildren
these berries ARE NOT SAFE TO EAT

A few days earlier
Beth Ann kindly packed sandwiches
and set out to help me find the same berry patch from her Sandy Lake childhood
as we drove she told me that the young…

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