Once you were here….

…and I did not feel the ghosts or know their form

it wasn’t the first hotel, it wasn’t the last, but all, branded with same

a repetitious reminder whether it sat on Hollis or across from Pearson or in Victoria

it was our first time taking off, the first time landing, our first taste of mental champagne

we ventured out into the night to find what we needed, to forget where we came from

we found it in the last drops of pint after pint,

and you laugh, that laugh, as you recount my silly thoughts about women in animal print

as we look across the jovial bar at the Cheetah, the too high heels and the too pink lipstick

and it was then that I understood you and I understood us


no photos were allowed, it was locked tight, pushed from our minds

that breathing the salty air was not how I should spend this day

but still, I wondered if 1968’s second born may be the….


Liquid Cocaine burns as it goes down but we order another anyway

we have no one to answer to and nowhere to be and all the money we need

I look across at the small and endearing gap in your teeth, the dissipating hairline

I was never really sure if you were handsome or if I was forcing myself to believe it

the night drifts away, the early morning hours and we are not asleep

everything came so easily in those days as the sun crept over the horizon

I never did finish the painting of that St. Margaret’s Bay icon

3:53 this afternoon and I walk past that cocoon, that escape, that hotel-bubble

the ghosts, they walk with me, and I watch you come

online…and offline…

and I know you’re gone.

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Aylan Couchie is an Anishinaabe interdisciplinary artist and writer hailing from Nipissing First Nation in Northern Ontario.

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