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GREY BORDERS

Kees Kapteyn

Kees Kapteyn been published in such magazines as Wordbusker, Writing Raw, In My Bed, blue skies, ditch, Novella, Corvid Revue and Revolution 21 as well as several CAA Niagara poetry anthologies such as The Saving Bannister, Woven Words and Symbols, in which he received an honourable mention. He has also received an honourable mention in Ten Stories High, the CAA Niagara short story anthology. He has also self-published the zine “Rhododendron” and several chapbooks, including “A Hierarchy of Needs”, “Holocene” and “Coffee Salt”. Kees Kapteyn was raised in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, and now lives in Ottawa, Ontario, where he works as an educational assistant.

 

from Temperance Ave

 

Impedance


The water.  The water that impedes my view of the world as I drive to work floats in the air as a mist, leaving a few scant feet of warning ahead. In this fog, the present has to come to me immediately, in its own instant, and I’m forced to deal with it without prescience. I think of Einstein’s theory of time travel, wherein the faster we move through space, the slower time moves, so one could end up in the future; time being malleable and elastic.


Right now, the clock remains ahead of me. I never pass the time. One one thousand, two one thousand… A thousand is a lot and all of it is in front of me, in the form of a van with an overly cautious driver at the wheel. I weave along the road to look around it but there’s no view of the potential beyond, only the miasma of the air we’re pushing through. I’m impatient, all elastic energy. My foot is on the brake again and again, aching from too much flexing. I wish this turtle would move. The radio comes in weak through this laden air too. I switch to my tape deck and listen to a muddy live version of “New Orleans is Sinking”.


We come up to an intersection and the van in front of me slows to a stop. It looks empty, sitting there as if sleeping. I’m sitting here watching it sit, seeing nothing in that huge surrounding fog that would make it hesitate.


“Go!” I yell. “Move!!” Finally he lets go and crosses the intersection into the mist.


I’m up now, trying to divine any presence that may be approaching through the gray mass. There’s nothing to be seen. I move out onto the road and almost as soon as I do, headlights arrive, moving into my vision with speed on their heels. I’m the obstacle now. I gun the engine and at the worst possible moment my wheels spin, screaming a horrible rasping sound. In all my impatience, I can’t move at the speed I need. My mass presses me down yet doesn’t provide enough friction to propel me forward. Time advances, space doesn’t diminish and I’m in a skip, like a palpitating cd glitch. I see the headlights advancing on me, their speeds already actualized and productive and I panic. My life flashes before my eyes as I fear the prospect of being t-boned but luckily, my wheels catch and I am released from fate. I come to the other side, heart pounding. I’m here now, moving at my own speed. I try to relax myself. Work is just a few minutes away. I don’t have much further to go now.