BY Elizabeth Bachinsky
INT. BACK OF A POLICE CAR. NIGHT
NOTES FOR A FILM IN WHICH AN INTERNATIONAL
PEDOPHILE RETURNS TO CANADA TO AWAIT TRIAL
AND CERTAIN IMPRISONMENT
Close on a man’s unshaven face, pressed
to a rain-slicked window. Nighttime cars rush past,
illuminate his orange jumpsuit. What has he done?
The time goes by like this: They are teenagers.
They are in their thirties. They are teenagers.
They are in their thirties. They are in their thirties.
Ensemble cast. Eleven protagonists.
Jennifer says to Jonathan, I don’t know you,
I only know the place we met. Where’s Steven?
Where’s Laura? Where’s Sasha? Where’s
Amber? Where’s Mercedes? Where’s Sara?
Where’s Dave? Where’s Tina? Where’s Matt?
Dear Dr. Heung,
I’ve moved again. I have a new dentist. I’ve got to settle
somewhere, right? His name is Dave and his office
is at 5th and Burrard and faces northwest to the Rockies,
which is what you see while his girl cleans you. And by his girl,
I mean my Margie, my cousin-by-marriage with whom I spent
last Christmas agog on my in-laws’ kitchen floor, stoned
on her brother’s dealer’s weed. So, it’s nice, she’s family—
but she’s not you. Not that you would ever clean
my teeth! Au contraire. For you, I reserve those memories
of seven-inch needles pressing toward my face, and then
into my face, and then the blessed freeze (of which I require
quite a generous amount) and however many hours of fillings
and drillings. It was never much. I have good teeth. Alas!
How about the time you took my back teeth out? Wow.
That took some doing. And all the freeze. And I thought
What lover has such expert, plastic-covered, slightly minty-
flavoured hands? So delightful, the care you took. The orchestration. Your silver tray of silver tools, and the drill.
I think of it still.
No need to call on you. No need to invoke
what hunkers in the landfill, no. What makes
its mark in this epoch and the next? Dumbbell,
engine block. You leave your mark while all things fall
about you. Pressmen press your teeth into
what must become alluvial duff. Oh well,
for a time you’ve been out-of-date, corporeal
in the basements of the universities—
forgotten, forgotten, you wait for one big shake
to bring you to a head. Dumb material,
man-made metal thing. What did we make
when we thought that we made you? A handprint.
Something like a painting on a wall.
We were here, we said. You never left at all.