Claire Murray Fooshee Second Prize (2013)
Silver beer cans tucked into the mesh pockets of folding chairs,
leaning splintery picnic table piled with camp stove
steak, fire-baked potatoes and salad from a bag.
My family and this feast, a feat
in a campground somewhere
between the Terry Fox Memorial in Thunder Bay and Cape Spear, Newfoundland.
Past the prairies, we left the western sky behind.
We have been on the road for four weeks and still
we eat every meal together.
Dad started the drive, got us as far
as the Saskatchewan border before Mom took over.
After he stopped treatment, his hair grew back
like wheat, straight up and bristly
and translucent in the early summer light.
We drove east, none of us knowing
when we’d have to turn back and drive
with the setting sun in our eyes.
The night we stopped somewhere
between Terry’s last strides and his first,
wood smoke and juicy beef,
sandy flannel blankets and pine-damp chill
are the scents of celebration.
With the tinfoil-tipped antennae of the grey portable television,
my brother has captured Game Seven
of the Stanley Cup finals.
My parents hold hands under the blanket,
and when Martin Brodeur shuts out the Anaheim Mighty Ducks,
we all stand up and cheer.