“Canada” by Richard Garcia

Richard Garcia


A dying Alaskan anarchist pleads to be buried in Canada.
Escaped slaves follow the drinking gourd toward Canada.

Blacks who fought for the British escape to Canada.
Tories pack their wigs and head for Canada.

Convicts on the lam from chain gangs limp into Canada.
Statues of the founding fathers thumb rides to Canada.

Young men fleeing the draft tiptoe into Canada.
Penniless drifters drift across the border into Canada.

Strange freight, Henry in a box, Special Delivery to Canada.
Fragile, handle with care, use no hooks—Canada.

Chief Joseph’s men in running battle toward Canada.
I will fight no more forever—almost Canada.

Not knowing Spanish, defeated confederates flee to Canada.
Bank robbers and bankers with their loot slip into Canada.

Confounding Texas Rangers, Gregorio Cortez turns north—O Canadá.
His little brown mare trot, trot, trotting all day—Ay! Canadá.

After seeing the elephant, forty-niners contemplate Canada.
John Brown cries war and Frederick Douglass excuses himself to Canada.

Warehouses of Jewish possessions at Auschwitz are called Kanada.
Piles of shoes, silverware, wedding rings, suitcases, gloves—Kanada.

Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Dorothy Lamour on the road to Canada.
Returning formations of Canada Geese tip their wings over Canada.

Low on gas, buses full of seniors clutching prescriptions roll into Canada.
Watching the election returns, tenured professors consider Canada.

After Little Big Horn, Crazy Horse leads his people to Canada.
Washington crossing the Delaware rows for Canada.

General Custer, asleep under the stars on his last night, dreams of Canada.
Columbus, asleep with his head on the tiller, dreams of Canada.

Poets Respond
November 13, 2016

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Richard Garcia: “The poem considers the dream of Canada as a place of escape or refuge for Americans throughout our history.” (website)

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