North Saskatchewan by Jennifer Bowering Delisle

Poet: Jennifer Bowering Delisle Poem title: North Saskatchewan Poem: It carries glacial genes from the Icefields. Snow fed, it knows how to be a body in the cold. Every day the train crossed the river, twenty seconds of light between the tunnels through the banks. I watched it freeze up, rafts of white snagging beneath the bridge, frazil ice, pans linked along the shoreline. Inside me my son was building white fat on bone. He was born in December when the days were narrowed, seconds of light between the black banks of a northern night. Next December he will touch snow. And watch the river from the bridge, the brushstrokes of wind, the city outfalls melting open leads. Walleye and pike have learned to live beneath the snow pack to feed on cold minnows and darkness that swim the silty channel bars. And all year long we drink the river. End of poem. Credits: Copyright © Jennifer Bowering Delisle Originally published in The 40 Below Anthology Vol. 2, ed. Jason Lee Norman (Wufniks Press 2015). Also appears in Delisle’s new collection, Deriving (University of Alberta Press, 2021). Jennifer Bowering Delisle (she/her) is the author of Deriving (UAP 2021) and The Bosun Chair (NeWest 2017). She has a PhD in English, and regularly teaches creative writing. She joined the board of NeWest Press in 2018. She is a settler in Edmonton/Treaty 6 territory.