I walk past a house in Tahsis as a woman
leaves in a taxi. Her little boy stands
on the doorstep, crying loudly and long.
Another woman comes and quickly
guides her hand like a missile
to its defenceless target.
The hard slap sounds through the street,
startling my every cell.
He is pulled inside, crying more.
The cry no one wants keeps banging
on the walls of my heart.
It is my cry too. Weedlike,
its roots travel hauntingly deep,
able to crack apart a body
or rot into tumours. By snap,
by bloodsqueeze of tears, by a
howling good grip, it will
unearth the light and live!
I say live like a river,
loving the drag of its boulders:
shoulder the cries that come and
carry them gently over. The physical
heart is so little, even for us, now big,
that it hangs, unnoticed, from the upper
branches of the body – not a windchime
until pelted by raindrops
or shaken, glinting, in a glad wind.
Another poem from my earlier chapbook “Stealing Eternity”. Tahsis was a town we visited on a boating trip many years ago, located at the head of Tahsis Inlet in Nootka Sound.
I will be going away on our boat shortly, for about a month, so you might not hear much from me. I do have a poem coming out in Kissing Dynamite early in September (“Zoo”) – if internet service is available wherever I find myself then, I’ll update this blog with a link. Happy end of summer to everyone!
who loves it more than sunshine,
the streets so wet tonight, they are tongues
babbling in the dark—glossolalia—
they gleam baptismal, it’s like
the slosh of good wine in the mouth,
how many ways can it be praised? and
how auspicious!—easier to leave the house
he was born in twenty-one years earlier
when drop by drop it taps on every window
calling his name, and out he goes for a walk
(like having a bath sprinkled with Dead
Sea salts, he can’t help but wallow in it)
such a glad soak, hair dripping, shoes
squishing already reaching the corner
and look, the light is with him,
the interminable traffic has stopped,
the next step beckons—that wide avenue
known to swallow a man whole—
now’s when a mother crosses
her fingers—momentum will carry him
curb after curb walking on water like this.
This poem was first published in the Taos Journal of Poetry & Art in 2017 and is included in my chapbook “Irresistible”, forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in March. Copies are available for preorder here.