In summer, the road stops miles to the south.
Beyond here, one flies in a propeller plane,
something we’d never do.
Moosonee did not feel like True North.
The streets were unpaved,
but no polar bears roamed them.
The water on the beach was cool, not icy,
not like the water I swam in off Nova Scotia.
The Moose River did not scour the beach.
It was not yet Hudson Bay.
It was not even Moose Factory.
We walked past
free paperbacks on a table.
You told me not to take them.
Carry in, carry out, as if we were camping.
In winter, the road continues north.
If I had, despite you,
taken that copy of Arctic Dreams,
would I have driven up that road
to find True North?
Or would I still have stopped short,
my travels on the compass
ending one afternoon
at The Gateway to the Arctic.
Marianne Szlyk is an associate professor at Montgomery College as well as an associate editor at Potomac Review. Her poem “Listening to Electric Cambodia” appeared in The Blue Hour Anthology Volume Two. She has also published poems in Aberration Labyrinth, Jellyfish Whispers, The Antigonish Review, and other journals. Her family used to vacation in Canada, once taking the train to Moosonee, Ontario.