UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO LINKS
From: Crossing the Salt Flats. 1999
(A story from 1950)
We were some kind of cousins, you and I,
Though you were younger and your brother was
My friend. You tagged along when we went playing
In the woods or by the lake near your village,
I was around thirteen, come with my mother
To visit this less-known side of the family.
We didn't want to take you with us, got
Annoyed waiting for you to catch us up,
Said cruel things. But you wouldn't leave us.
Two visits. That's all. I forgot you.
Seems you had some problems, went to see
A shrink, fell hard for him. When he refused you,
Got impatient, sent you away, whatever,
You put your father's shotgun in your mouth.
Your mother found you, her quiet and only daughter.
Saw the walls and ceiling. Saw your clothes.
Just early twenties, and they say you were
Very bright, attractive, not strange at all.
I think of you trailing after us, a silent
Skinny ten-yeart-old. I remember how
The heavy berries hung in the long hedges,
The lake was a clear deep mirror, and we
Thought you were a nuisance and ignored you,
Little cousin, now quite far removed.
Christopher Wiseman's works copyright © to the author.