Queen's Quarterly

Queen's Quarterly
Queen's Quarterly

Ste Elizabeth

Joel Robert Ferguson

In the earliest warm-ish months of this our plague year
there’s a deer hoof on the roof of a fifties Chevrolet
and the brook Google can’t name has washed out the road.

Town of maximum fifty, circa 1920, foundations and trees.
We’ll need a map of the spaces omitted
from hereon out, for the must, the concrete chapel,

the headstones marked with more names than days were lived.
Lawn chair, breaker, Tokarczuk’s latest and a lonesome squirrel,
downroads a casual roost for the last roc, atop a ruined cottage

with the spray-painted imperative “FREE JOE EXOTIC!”
And as I sit on the church lawn, careful not to exhaust Ste Elizabeth,
the next family drives in to fly their drone, metal-detect,

forget Coronavirus for an afternoon. They wave,
approach, and I will be asked if I’m the caretaker
of the only ghost town within an hour of the city.


Joel Robert Ferguson is the author of The Lost Cafeteria (Signature Editions, 2020), and his poetry has appeared in various publications, including Arc Poetry Magazine, EVENT, the Honest Ulsterman, the Malahat Review, and Prairie Fire. Having grown up in the Nova Scotia village of Bible Hill, Ferguson now lives in Winnipeg, Treaty 1 Territory, with his partner and their three cats.