The Highway of Tears by Mary Franklin

I see her picture on a poster board

in a Prince George laundromat.  There’s

another on a hydro pole in Prince Rupert.

 

She’s seventeen, dark eyes, dark hair,

a wary smile.  M I S S I N G in large,

black letters above her head.  So many

 

girls and women have disappeared

or been found dead on this northern road.

Only one of these cases has been solved.

 

Beware young women who hitchhike

when they cannot afford a car or fare

on the daily Greyhound bus.  Beware.

 

Who is there to fear on the Highway of Tears?

A hunter, fisherman or salesman travelling

alone?  Someone local?  More than one?

 

What have these fir trees seen on Highway 16,

the startled deer bounding away, the eagle

soaring in the freezing air, the snowshoe hare

 

who pauses temporarily to sniff and stare.

Who is there to fear on the Highway of Tears?

Beware young women who hitchhike.  Beware.

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