Lost & Found – Some of the Women Who Haunt Me. (Unconfirmed Sightings of the Goddess)

Lost & Found – Some of the Women Who Haunt Me. (Unconfirmed Sightings of the Goddess)

I’m holding cotton candy in the circus tent. The fire-eater is standing in the middle of a garden of flame, her body covered with tattoos.

Two years before her drowning, the German exchange student is on the roof of the cathedral in Normandy, balanced between gargoyles, staring out into eternity.

Fifty feet below the surface, a girl in a wetsuit is picking a sea cucumber from the ocean floor off the coast of Gambier Island.

On a field of red dust beside a dry creek bed, a dark-skinned woman gathers sticks for an evening fire.

The dream ghost of my mother waves from the window of a passing train carriage.

Their faces hidden behind masks, a group of women disappear down a New Orleans alley, leaving behind laughter bright as trumpets.

At nine-years-old, I’m riding my blue bicycle past the backyard where Mrs. Ogilvie is tanning face down and topless on the fresh cut grass.

On Canada Day, when the rain is bouncing knee-high off the pavement, the motorcycle women are smoking cigarettes and eating oyster burgers at the Fanny Bay Inn.

Chagall’s trapeze artist floats in a frozen downward arc past the fiddle-playing moon.

On the art gallery steps, the red-haired woman with the baby on her back stops to adjust her fishnet stockings.

The blues singer spits into the bucket on the stage of the smoke-filled club, runs the empty coke bottle across the strings of her steel guitar.

The eighty-seven-year-old grandmother of twelve finishes her degree in philosophy and wonders what she will do next.

Amelia Earhart disappears into a cloudless sky.

Night after night, the opera singer dies of tuberculosis and a broken heart in front of an appreciative audience.

In the mouldy basement suite, the single mother helps her son cut out construction-paper planets.

Holding back tears, a woman stands in front of a microphone reads and out the names of the engineering students who were murdered at L’Ecole Polytechnique.

On the wallpaper of Aunt Caroline’s kitchen, red birds are sitting in the branches of green trees. She’s standing over her gas stove stirring pots of jam, strawberry and damson.

In the morning newspaper, there are photographs of some of the women — mothers, sisters, and daughters — who have disappeared from the streets of the downtown eastside.

On an August night, my wife is six months pregnant, riding a bicycle on a trail to the beach. A cloud passes from the face of the very ancient moon.

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