UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO LINKS
From: Blue Panic. Black Moss Press, 1991, p 50
This could be my town,
the one I always wanted to leave.
The houses lean diffident and anxious
along mainstreet, suspects in a lineup.
The lights keep the street on a tight rein.
There's the drugstore,
the cheap shoestop,
the occulist a cut above the rest.
There's the store with pretensions to fashion.
Wild-haired mannequins parade in its eyes.
The jakarinds crowd the cupola
in the town square where old men play chess.
The cathedral points a bone at the sky.
I feel I've lived on your street
in these houses of no face;
windows shuttered, turned inward,
hearts a sealed garden
spreading lives, rooms, roots.
They are relentlessly female, make
family weather: Square sun
to a private courtyard,
filter rain to a need.
Outside your house there's the tree
you shimmied down naked
nights your mother stole your clothes.
She thought to keep you in.
But the point of a wall
is to climb it; of a street,
to take it. And a town like this?
To leave it.
it always pulls you back.
Rosemary Sullivan's works copyright © to the author.