TO ARGILLITE, RETURNING SURFACING BEHAVIOUR Just shy of Alaska, catamaraning the contested Dixon Entrance A-B Line somewhere south of Prince of Wales Island we’re waiting with whale-sized patience for the firm blue sea to split open, our Canadian cell phones buzzing with text links to American dialing codes and roaming fee warnings, a cormorant, a distant Tsimshian shell midden, where grass touches tide, two Metlakatlas tilted totems and those massive migrating mammals we want to see, hoping some will be friendlies breachers or bubble netters, the stench of their baleen breath fishy and flint and their krilley shit strings of bright orange recede and we’re astounded silent alive like life before never knew of throat groves dreams of touching tail flukes we’re fools taking selfies trying to focus on us and their bulky heads sky hopping, nodding their bristled faces, barnacled backs, an acrobat’s arc a hump our hearts hammering standing still surrounded by ocean and pods and small clouds on the horizon and sounds like zings, strings on saw blades they are so animal but so me too and so close I look exactly into an eye and then down a blowhole, breathe in her exhale and know nothing greater. WHEN YOUR MATE CENTRAL INTERIOR It is summer in British Columbia except not quite way up here, even though the rivers are flooding their banks and the ground is loosening and my sister is living in Munich right now, going to volleyball practices in the evening after work, working out in purple spandex with her ropey arms and platinum hair, a bombshell who misses London, the city, the pace so when I’m driving early in the morning to catch a flight going south, sky as light as late last night, crusts of snow still in the ditches, I catch my breath at the small town-ness of it all, at the hard drinking men hauling themselves into cabs of logging trucks, mine and mill dust floating in the air, a blur, inside dad are cells so sick it takes everything for him to walk once around his garden of new sharp tart rhubarb stems sticking almost like they hurt so red up from composted earth waxy leaves opening, slackening fists. WHEN I MARRY FOX September October collision, colour of flesh orange sockeye salmon spawning-spent beneath floating leaf decay and me, denless. The dishwasher, the Lazy Boy chair, even the lawn mower broken and useless. Husbandless, I stare full of envy at the diamonds of other women. Bear, beaver, and even bull-moose have all said no. Like a hard-boiled egg lodged in my throat, loneliness. And did I mention the selkies? Despite seal fingered flippery children, their rotsalt stink of sea and tidal flats, their men are shored. Beached. Then Fox nip‐knocks for me, leg lifted, piss‐sharp smell ripe as the ping bite of high bush cranberries. I will wed you, wed you, wed you he yips. My hairless white body looming, his promise of torn up alley cats convincing me: forgo silver stilettos, forget lace. His bedroom is lined in downy owl fluff a neck he cracked years back. At first his teeth draw blood from my nipples, razory little slices. He tugs at me like he’s tearing at tough fresh road kill. Slowly calcification takes hold. My skin thickens, his winter fur comes in full. In our new year, when humans are thumbing corks off bubbly popping party sparklers and snapping open tin-foiled Christmas crackers, he says: it’s time to sell my hide. Pelting time. This is what he offers our world. Transforming briefly to man then crawling back to me, bled. He muzzle‐shuffles gifts toward me, exhausted. A restaurant packet of salt. A bottle cap. A bright blue Stellar’s Jay feather. Of course I wait, now I’m a fox wedded wife. Our milky furless pups flipping inside me. As if from drowning springs life. _____ Sarah de Leeuw is a creative writer and human geographer. A two-time recipient of a CBC Literary Prize for Creative Non-Fiction, she is the author of three books including Geographies of a Lover which, in 2013, won the Dorothy Livesay Award, a BC Book Prize granted annually to best book of poetry by a BC author. Her literary and academic work appears widely in journals, anthologies and textbooks. She lives in Prince George and Kelowna, British Columbia. Northern BC folio curated by Gillian Wigmore.