“A Montreal gas-station attendant was tied up, doused with gasoline and set on fire yesterday.¨ The Montreal Gazette, April 2, 1989
Not the regular guy gasing
tonight Marcel’s in Hotel Dieu
eyes and mouth torched shut
by a thief for a money box.
He waits mute
for his charred skin to cement
stiff and heavy like burnt steak
in the hospital baths
it peels off
in black chunks and floats
like dead fish in the Black Sea,
new skin resurrects
in tight purple furrows
the raped whiteness irreversible.
Thief’s silver pieces weren’t enough
urge to crucify
to spike Marcel’s delicate skin
with the sharp flames darting
from inside his ravaged mind,
he skipped away in triumph
wiping Marcel’s spit from his cheek.
My child strapped in her car seat
distracted by all the monster tractors
skyscraper yellow arches
drops her umbilical Teddy without wailing
and for that mesmerized moment is transfixed
by all the deafening motors
glitter of plastic lights
oblivious to the womb
warmth of her friend.
Was it so for the thief?
that temporary distraction from humanity,
did he not recognize his own
brother’s brown eyes?
or smell the sweat of human fear
as he struck
From the darkened back seat
an impatient cry,
I reach back quickly
that fragile link.
McRites Press ©Murielle Cyr 2012