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Things that Keep and Do Not Change

Susan Musgrave
From:   Things that Keep and Do Not Change. McClelland & Stewart, 1999


Out on the windy gulf, breakers
like bouldery sheets of laundry
tumble and spin towards the horizon
in my sleep. We've been fogbound for three days
and I've learned the difference between bad
ice and good, how to travel in a blizzard
using the wind to set your course.

One night I woke and a white shadow
was trying to get into bed with me.
My tongue went numb and the only words
I could remember came out cold. I used to think
white was no colour at all, only your absence
making itself known, your ghost
doubling back to pull down my stiff
winter underwear from our drooping clothesline -
little thief! When they found you
the foam on the beach after the north wind
blew all night was white and deep.
We've been fogbound for days
and I've learned to set my course on the wind.



Susan Musgrave's works copyright © to the author.


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