BLOG ENTRY 4 | Elizabeth Brunazzi


The picture begins at night, with a light flashing back and forth, a man swinging a lantern. In the nineteenth century, the inhabitants of St. Pierre-et-Miquelon, the St. Pierrais, would get up at night on the rocky points that ring the island and swing lanterns back and forth, or hang their lanterns on the yoke of an ox, and the ox would shake its head slowly back and forth. Ships passing in the North Atlantic saw the light moving back and forth and took it as a beacon, a sign it was safe to move into harbor there.

But the light on the point of land was a lure to the ships to come in over the rocks, and the ships were wrecked on the points around St. Pierre. The St. Pierrais would come down and loot the ships the next morning, after all the people and livestock aboard had drowned. The people of St. Pierre still fish for a meager living. The waters around St. Pierre are a graveyard of shipwrecks. The tourist can see photographs taken of the wrecks over a stretch of many years. The St. Pierrais are proud of these relics and photographs.

A man on the front lawn in the dark is looking for the number of my house. There is no number on my house. The man runs from the side door to the back door, back to the front door and then all around the house, swinging a flashlight back and forth as he goes. I finally rush to the door and open it, and the thin Chinese man with the golden-colored skin in the dusty beam of the flashlight with the bag of eternal goldfish cartons filled with rice and soup and chicken and sauteed green beans and fortune cookies grins broadly, showing he has lost many teeth.

We both burst out laughing in the dark in the dusty light of the flashlight because we have found each other out here on the outskirts, in exile, far away from the cities. He takes the money and bows away into the dark.

When salvation comes. There are many forms.