faraway look

salal pancakes

When I returned from my swim this morning, Forrest and Arthur had picked a container of salal berries. That meant pancakes for breakfast. It’s their last day. The last day for Angelica and Craig, too; they’ll return to their lives, all of them, in Ottawa, and Victoria. And our house will be quiet again. But somehow full of the sound of voices murmuring in the evening, laughing over beer on the deck while dinner was made, calling, Who wants to go down to the lake for a final splash?

So pancakes for breakfast, kept warm on the old platter my mother gave me for Christmas two decades ago. And the memory of John’s poem, “Baby Shouts Dao”, published in an early book, An Arbitrary Dictionary, edited by bp Nichol, and full of our first years here, in the mansion of his anecdote, when we had one child, then two. (This book was published in 1984, a year before Angelica’s birth.)

Dada at loose ends
in the mansion of his anecdote
can’t hammer home

from the piece-work
room to room, scraps
of flashing, the last
closet, a good word

for Mum’s faraway look
her salal pancakes. . .

till baby shouts “dao!”
palms and delivers
the half-dead horsefly

mouths the tiny shiny screw

sits back the wrong way
on his foot tucked under
and hugs the phone.

 

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~ by theresakishkan on July 28, 2017.

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