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North of the 401

Jennifer Footman
From:   St. Valentines Day. New Brunswick: Broken Jaw Press, 1995.


Over the airport the moon rises
as full as a nine month gestation;
it hangs in a magnetic neutrality
of no rise, no fall.

In Brampton guard rails lead
east and west, north and south
towards buildings, scrub land,
the odd field of corn.

On the shore of Lake Ontario
ice creaks and groans,
Toronto becomes an island
as a single ripple dies in mid wave.

A man in a Mississauga townhouse consoles
himself, he has done no wrong
but has been right in everything.
It's not his fault she's a skeleton,

her flesh bonded to bone.
He climbs into his rig and remembers.
Once she had begged him to turn her to mercury,
to quicken shadows into the light

of those silly sunbeams. Yes, she had implored
him to lead her out of the crowd
on-stage for the audience to clap
and for his laughter to be as light

as jays on frozen branches.
He had loved her until her blood
coloured the walls of their house
red and she had cried about ovaries

shrivelling up to a dead moon,
about a sky dropping lead,
about all the birds in the world
bare as newborn babies.

Her vagina closed and tilted into white
flames and he knew a season of faking women
blotted into slime and mucous
lodged in the blind eye of her cervix.

He moves onto the west ramp towards London
leaving the city and the woman sleeping
in Egyptian neutrality in a crumpled bed.

The moon slices behind a cloud and the highway
is empty but for his rig and one car.
Blood on his thighs dries into spider patterns.


Jennifer Footman's works copyright © to the author.


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