I can't sleep. I'm sweating camomile tea.
Insanely, the fuchsia on my window sill has decided to bloom. My eyes rise from its pink and purple hopes into the indigo of a deep January night.
Above the city, the sky is so clear you can see into the beginning of the universe, the stars shooting my retina like silver bullets.
It's Mars out there, Africa in here. Two tropicals, my plant and I are safe in our cozy aquarium, our spaceship sealed against winter.
Inches from the flowers, a giant ice cat presses against my window. I can't see him, but the frozen pane has captured the frosty whorls of invisible fur. Frigid claws rend feathery trails of sparkling white.
It wants in.
On the other side of the window, glassy stalactites jut up like teeth, over a foot high. There is a hungry spirit that haunts the dark winter months. The Ojibway tell about it.
When the cold is so deep that the trees crack like gunshots, Windigo is out there.
In the years when the cold stays for so long that the game animals disappear and the food from summer has been eaten, Windigo will sometimes rise in the eyes of a neighbour or a loved one. Cannibal.
Who here is Windigo?
Who has put someone out into the cold?
Who has torn down a sturdy building?
Who has left an apartment empty rather than lower the rent?
Who has turned out boarders from a vintage house, to renovate it into their dream home?
Who has bought a building for speculation, then sold it to another, who sold it to another?
Who has lobbied against public and cooperative housing?
Who has protested boarding homes or shelters in their neighbourhood?
Who profits from homelessness, and the threat of homelessness?
You, you are Windigo.
Who has left our brother and sister to die on our sidewalks yet another winter?
We, we are Windigo.