Poems

 

Buoyancy


The step between the individual
and the universal is less a leap
than a stumble

                      mimetic of smooth stones you’ve skipped
before standing transfixed
by that erratic leaping across a pond,
by the way thrown objects are unsure of direction     or director
but move forward,

risking that pendulous balance
between states.    And the movement
draws the air around you taut
as the flesh on a white-knuckled grip
          during a moment of ambivalence

An unprecedented stumble
and you’re irreversibly set in motion;
at sea and at a loss in a world
           open to you
as the world is open only
during astonished youth
           when each step is as individual 
as your particular fury

on a particular afternoon


(first published in 
Contemporary Verse 2. Vol. 31. No. 1. Summer 2014.)



Honeymoon



How to prepare for the bed and breakfast
lavish with tajines and import rugs, absurd
with Québecois music and Americans
who couldn’t afford Paris?

We couldn’t believe our room of roped curtain,
in-suite fireplace, and crystal wine glasses
(we filled with cheap depanneur red)

We walked barefoot on dark hardwood
reclined on sofas to eat roasted almonds
and local peaches
               while the city rose up around us,
               while the locals
spoke too quickly for us to understand
and the St. Lawrence pulled furiously
beyond the town, into what lay after

I felt myself subsumed
by that churning body of the river’s insistence, felt us both
pulled forward that we might

emerge into our marriage

                         changed women
                       new women


(first published in Plenitude Magazine. Summer 2015.)



Alden Nowlan's "Desolation Creek"



“Poor Nova Scotia. The real fault lies in me. Do you remember D.H. Lawrence’s Richard
Somers had spent twenty years wrestling with the problem of himself and calling it
Australia?”      - Alden Nowlan



It must be true
we can’t see beauty in our hometowns
until we are free of them or

until certain ties have been severed;

there is a lush glory
in hillside Hants County, Nova Scotia,
and a careful charm to the vernacular as it is easily,
assuredly spoken. Release in the small town isolation and
propensity for reflection.

And how deceitful the way Highway 101 shimmers golden in sunset
between stretches of deep pine and pocks
of azure lake            Once you remember where to find
                                          the nearest    sushi restaurant
                                                                yoga studio
                                                                gay bar
                                 Once you remember
                                           how close the airport is,
                                           the exact kilometer count.


(first published in The Antigonish Review. Issue 177. Spring 2014.)