Starlight Tours of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan,
surreptitious nocturnal winter excursions.
Snow gathers in the dead, cold iris of a luckless coyote.
Ice clings to hard white teeth and a black leather tongue.
The tour bus waits outside a pool hall, lights out, radio silent.
As potential passengers pass by the drivers wait for
one with a target on his back and summer shoes on his feet.
Long black hair glistens in the winter moon’s cold light.
Snow glistens in the corona of a streetlight at the edge of the dark
alley where a perfect passenger stops to piss on the bricks.
Fists, elbows, clubs, then handcuffs and the passenger is
thrown into the backseat. As the tour bus pulls out for the trip
beyond the power station a death chant fades into billowing flakes in a neon
red wake. In the alley snow gathers in the summer shoes, covers footprints in
white, ice clings to the black leather tongue. When workers find the body
face down in blood frozen black, blue skin frozen to blue ice, black hair frozen
in boreal wind glistens in the sunrise. When the sun has warmed the ice enough
they turn the body over, frostbite black lips, nose a broken lump on the purple
swollen face, recognizable, unbelievably so. Ruled an “accidental death,”
these words carry cold, calculated weight among the First Nations People.
They signify another drunk Indian who couldn’t find his way home so he froze to death. They signify that murder is the sum of its parts.
They signify the loss of a child who really did have more sense
than to go out with his summer shoes on.