Ten November

by Stefanie Brook Trout

“Remember, remember, the 10th of November”-Adam de Pencier, National Post

There is no James Cameron blockbuster, no
Jack and Rose, no never-let-go scene to cement this ship-
wreck into our collective Hollywood consciousness.

What commemorates Big Fitz: an elegy crooned
to a melody Lightfoot cribbed from old Irish folk
songs, a stage play reprised each fall at the local
high school, watercolor likenesses on canvas,
reprints on postcards, throw pillows, etc.

I once saw my sister act in the play. “Saw” is a stretch—
I remember more the map-drawing book that held my
attention during the show: I admired the variety of compass
rose designs, steadied my hands so my contour lines didn’t run
together, asked my mom, in a stage whisper, if we had any tea
bags at home so I could give my map a quasi-authentic stain—
but so is “act” since my sister only ever played bit parts.

I had to leave the Great Lakes to discover
the rest of the world didn’t know the Edmund
Fitzgerald, the Witch of November that split
her in two, or the twenty-nine-man crew
she disappeared forty years ago today.

No bodies were ever found, no disembodied
remains. Just an oil slick, empty lifeboats and jackets
drifting uselessly toward Gichigami’s shores.

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