Amid Mailbox & Maple
I board with my gut in the same
tangle as the earphones in my carry-on,
invest in gin and tonic distraction.
Warmth eddies around my tongue, seeps
through the ice jam in my jaw and shoulders.
Just a hint of quinine bitters; same bite that
silences me in circular conversations.
I’m reminded of the snarled knitting of my youth,
wool squeaking as it scraps across needles,
too much tension. When with a tug
I could unravel back through loops of time
to pick up dropped stitches, correct tautness. Family
tapestry, not as easily rewoven.
Already beige wool, how much further did I dilute
pure laine by leaving? Geese who honk between
two homes in chase of sustenance
still carry the label Canada.
Or is it my amnesiac mother tongue? I try
drag words out of slush in my throat,
joual of Les Belles-Soeur lost in translation.
I baptized my offspring in a northern lake,
inoculate them with bonhomme de neige, sculptures de glace.
How often must my goslings fly
home so that, like me,
their footprints belong to snow.
Published in Room Magazine, 40.3 : Migration. Vancouver BC: Friesens Corporation (2017).
Eating alone, I work my way
down sizes in my closet from 16 to 12
make regular trips to the tailor,
have waistbands taken in.
I walk in holding a man’s hand. Should you need it,
I can let waists back out. Very professional,
no one will notice. The tailor
was correct, no one noticed alterations,
at least not
in the clothing.
No longer needing to commute,
we move out of the city
seeking inside-snow-globe quiet,
trade tail lights for tails,
cow, deer, fox, dog.
View from my kitchen window
two swayed back mares
eating hay, sleeping,
their world defined by white fence
and barbed wire.
Through spring breeze, snowfall
minus 20-degree weather
eating hay, sleeping
echoes of circular
instructions on shampoo
lather, rinse, repeat.
“Being put out to pasture”
acquires new meaning.
At least I have my volunteer work
the untethered soul
in the skin of a lion
break, blow, burn
the unconscious civilization
one simple act
the power is within you
sprinkled on pine, outstretched boughs
gather up snow bouquets
Three omega wolf cubs wearing defiance, (baseball
caps backwards, baggy pants, bulky chains securing
empty wallets) in the edgy interval
of peach-fuzz chins and croaking voices. I shoo
them out of the hospital basement
on my way to the change room.
As I exit, the staff entrance door clicks
locked behind me. I see them illuminated
by the streetlight, circling,
a pack on the shore
waiting for their prey
to exhaust itself
Rummaging through my purse,
instead of my staff badge
which unlocks the door,
I find my key ring.
Ignoring the flutter of hummingbird
wings caged by my ribs, I stride
through them, chin up, shoulders square,
make it half way to my car
before I hear feet
slapping closer, loud as a
beaver tail’s warning.
I spin around, keys protruding
from my clenched fist like talons.
They freeze mid-step,
turn to retreat in unison.
You’re fucking brave when I’m facing you
hurled at their backs as insurance.
Once locked in my car, shivering
like birch leaves in the evening breeze,
I struggle to stem the news feed stream
of alternate ugly endings,
texture of blood, broken bone, bruises
supplied by my nursing experience.
I imagine them
laughing at the
harmless only joking fun
still can’t leave a building
without clutching keys
in my hand right hand.
First appearing in Bywords Feb. 2017
snow straggled, salt stung
ice battered, snow plough mangled
red flag raised for spring
snows tears drip from eaves
yellowed stalks cha cha with breeze
sorrow melts as ice recedes
I want to live in that interlude,
after the goodnight conk -la -ree
of red-winged black birds
settling into the cattails,
before crickets’ chirp
after birth of the nascent polliwog,
before it sprouts legs to leap
from the amniotic pond
into the claws of a hawk
after the peach sun ripens to pink
on the western ledge,
before its bruised skin
spreads across the sky
after mid-day calm
before the evening breeze
quivers through silver poplars
until leaves murmur like
gossips’ tongues in church.
I want to live in that interlude
after I sat down for supper,
before the phone’s shrill chirp,
before I put on this midnight dress,
before I placed burgundy roses
on your casket of poplar,
before the parlour filled with murmurs.
When I still inhaled indigo
and exhaled champagne-pink.