Photos of honeycomb and bees have been layered into a rectangular repeating background.

SEELEY QUEST: “MESSAGES IN BOTTLES”

reaching an edge of Montreal bordered by the St Lawrence river, you pitch the message. C’s service dog scouts along the waterline nearby, finds and fetches the bottle.
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dear C: i miss you. you ever consider the fact of being in five big car and bike crashes (so far), and that you’ve had at least five concussions in adulthood? and so Can’t venture again without crampons after an ice storm, risk slipping to head-slam repeats? you can’t forget, even though your memory’s narrator has become less reliable.
i like you describing me as a “lame love”–the edge we know you can push with how intimately you’ve treated me, how public you’ve been about your own episodes of halting, encumbered and staggering movement. i like the humour, sincerity, and especially that you checked first and didn’t assume it would feel ok to use that.
more disabled folks have tried reclaiming “gimp” and “cripple” than “lame”—it’s still a putdown daily. so you know it requires explaining to potential allies: that i sometimes limp, my knees are damaged and mobility impaired even if i can bike most of the time. we must remind all that’s what it means, and that we pair it with love for how i physically operate….
now that we’ve entered a pandemic, numbers of us will grow; can we dispel ableism and grow those willing to name themselves part of the community? we are many, and strong; still facing gaps in care, still undermined by isolation.
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i go on faith you’ll get this message, and reply. water, current, a border-crossing habitat of mixed fluids, the effort of bottle containing, gambling, trust–these will bring precious words back to me. waiting and seeking, Q
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C returns to make a solid toss into waves. her next message will go downstream, but a humpback whale heading upriver carries this vessel; it washes up where Q stumbles over it.
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dear Q, i slide with you into this surreal space, breaking the logic for constructing our narratives: resist the pressure of clarifying whose voice, what’s non/fiction, etc. i couldn’t even fabricate a missive how i wished, just got lucky a whale arrived to carry it. as someone said at the end of May when Whale came to Montreal, “humans, whales and land mammals, sometimes…are vagrants that go in unusual places”–oui, i think it’s a crip too, to ally with for stubborn cross-species survival!
we’re amie through exhaustion, communication errors, numbed hands, dislocated heads, with jouissance nonetheless. we embrace joyous energy even more, knowing that’s so precious! each casting notes forth to be transmitted, depending only on safe enough passage to carry them, and on adventurous receivers to actively adopt the messages. merci for engaging in this ritual practice alongside me, for attuning to what’s floating in the mix, letting it hold the wayward muse, hints, admissions and commitments. we must believe our records will be found, and yield future story-building. in hope, Yours