In West Ottawa,
lives are disrupted by forces of nature.
Over a hundred homes damaged.
Affluent suburbs turned into rubble.
Chairs, tables, mattresses, stoves
scattered in the yards.
A fridge thrown, open,
The community comes together.
Volunteers remove debris,
board smashed windows.
carries out personal items
salvaged from the ruins –
medications, makeup brushes, a set of lipsticks.
Ontario activates the province’s
Disaster Recovery Assistance program.
“We will spare no expense,”
promises Premier Ford.
The city council
waives fees for affected residents.
“So proud to be mayor of this city,”
says Jim Watson.
In another part of town,
lives are disrupted by a piece of paper.
in the Heron Gate community of
get eviction orders.
The landlord says
units are too costly to maintain.
Over a hundred townhomes
will be demolished,
replaced with resort-style condos.
Some have already left,
their homes quickly boarded up.
They are forced to settle for smaller apartments
at higher rental fees.
has to share her room
with two of her siblings.
In the yards, scattered furniture –
chairs, tables, couches, mattresses.
A fridge is tossed, open,
The mayor claims there is nothing he can do.
“These are provincial responsibilities,” he says.
“The owners have the right.”
(Editor’s note: poet Shai Ben-Shalom, an Israeli-born biologist, examines current events in the Blacklock’s tradition each and every Sunday)