Larissa Lai

The United Nations Train Station Museum

Jun 1, 2016

Larissa Lai
for Sharron Proulx-Turner
May 29, 2016

playing with “why crow knows weendigo’s not all he’s cracked up to be”
from What The Auntys Say

down at the united nations train station museum with the old lady and her red hen where the mythic crow’s nest incubates
fledglings of many varieties
the canadian pan that troubles our valences
state umbrella full of holes but we huddle together beneath it
soaking wet we learn
to love the rain how it grows us
feeds roots some ancient n some sojourning
tendrilling tippy toes that bind our
reconstructed love

“them crows turn into hazelnuts
right there on the hardwood floor”
cracked crazy wide
some call them filberts and old chinese lady
cooks ’em into soup with a big old pork bone
open-pen raised not factory farmed
wan san gei tzee
not so vegetarian friendly and not as filling as
“a whole side of caribou and half an hind end”
but nourishes still the bodies of kin kind
old chinese lady arrives after the railroad’s
live long day
head tax certificate in one hand
and an old apple in the other
drippy mango juice
peace of my heart

what if our filial uncles
splitting obligation to extended family
way back in say yup
guang tsou, hk the fragrant harbour of our holy ocean
reclamation the leasehold of our opiated ching conceding to the bloody british
the poppy cock we inhaled
coerced from districts Meerut, Agra, Rohilkhand, Allahabad, Benares, Gorakhpur, Kumaun, Lucknow and Faizabad
under British India state monopoly
prepared at the government factory in Ghazipur
chested and
shipped via
east india co means
the same not past the post as hudson’s bay co
blows ching imperial cover
at last something the chinese want: sleep

what i’m trying to say is
if our village uncles’ feet weren’t so itchy
if their love didn’t swing so confucian superior
our curious hakka voyages might not have worked
the tracks and then?
if no railway
if riel
if no CPR troop transport from the east orienting
travel from Ottawa
if no support for the train or its stations
might our west have ridden another way?

little red hen, our hazels crack an old lady future
shunt the united nations train station museum
to change tracks
cattle car off the rails
so buffalo can roam again home again

“break wind with the best of them”
blow their minds
alt control shift to time cracking differently
as the blackrobed judge turns into a filbert
and rolls across the floor

thanks david bateman for showing me how to do this. thanks malissa phung, whose extraordinary dissertation takes up the “what if” of chinese canadian participation in the CPR in relation to louis riel and the northwest rebellion. sharron proulx-turner, so much love.

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