on the day you died
i flew your flag

Candice - flag

at seventy nine degrees
North latitude

before the pack ice and glaciers
Arctic Terns dove and fed

above the walls
of our northernmost RCMP post
in a crisp north wind


Pride flew


i remember,

in your living room
a few weeks before
we spoke of your flag

i remember,

your words

“Dave, this isn’t about being gay,
or transgender,
this is about everyone,
about diversity”


a week after you died
and a little further north
i sat atop the bare rock
of Loon Island

i led my group here
and then,
then we waited,
cornered by an East wind and the heavy ice it drove
unable to advance, unable to retreat
our kayaks tethered and idle
the airstrip we sought,
still 30 kilometres away

through the day and night i sat
watching for an opening
in the swirling ice
heavy on my shoulders

ice pans crashing and groaning
violence in the currents

i remembered,
laughing with you
guiding with you
sharing responsibilities
in the decades gone by

at 4 am
i thought there might be an opening
a gamble
a longshot in the ice,
eight lives in my hands

heart in my throat
i woke my group
“get up, we’re going,
we need to move fast”

packing my gear
i looked up
an Arctic Fox stood there
not ten feet from me
velvety brown fur and gold yellow eyes
it watched me

and calm returned


i remember,

when i left your hospital room
i said to you

“I will look for you in the Arctic”

i think i found you
or maybe

you found me



in Alexandra Fiord
i flew your flag

and now your flag


your flag has become mine



Author: Dave Weir     Photo: Candice Stuart

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