High at the Border

Close-up photo of bits of vegetable and various food garbage falling between iron bars in the snow. Part of a bag and a labelled plastic wrapping are visible at the top.

I ride a bus across the border,
Into the U.S. of A.,
And they confiscate my clementine.
The flashback from last night’s edible hits
Right as the guard starts in with her questions.
Where do you live? She asks.
I stumble over my response.
I have lived in so many places.
I have had so many little lives this side of the border.
The names of various past-life cities roll through my brain like the reels of a slot machine.
Wait, does she want my street name?
I still haven’t memorized my postal code.
As always, it’s embarrassing.
I hesitate, but thankfully, my survival instincts kick in,
And the right place name comes out of my mouth.
She calls me sweetie.
I look at her like a deer would,
Frozen in front of her Prius on a dark country road.
I hope it’s not suspicious.
She asks more questions, the usual ones about the J-1,
And then she hands me a green strip of paper
That says I have passed this round.
Sage 1, drugs 0.
I sit down and wait for the rest of the coach bus to pass
And try my best not to look high at the border.

Published by Sage Pantony

Sage Pantony is a writer, poet, and zinester. They write about gender, sexuality, mental health, trauma, creativity, and the best ways to cook eggs. They are the author of several zines, including a trilogy about transitioning as a non-binary person. Sage’s work has appeared in publications such as Coven Poetry, Idle Ink, and The Varsity. They currently reside in Tiohtià:ke/Montréal with their pet dinosaur, Peter.

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