Layers of a night

The blue-white moon shines over the city
shimmering the snow,
frozen now for days where once it cascaded,
drifting across streets and yards and roofs,
now monuments and mountains tower, stoic.

Silver stars twinkle piecemeal in the lit-up sky
(only the brightest ones)
below, yellow lights flicker across the faces
of apartment buildings and office towers;
the stars and lights dance, rhythmless,
while steam rises then hangs limply in the frozen air –
frozen spectres.

Reeling from the cold, we recede indoors
sliced by moonlight, the room of this old house glows
swaying in candlelight soft and gold
wrapped in exotic scents – spices and dried fruit –
that taste of deserts and sun and frankincense;
swallowing thoughts,
they turn palate to substance.

Beyond the immediacy of taste and smell,
the people, all darkened eyes and sparkling shawls,
beguile, languid in their gestures.
We are all somewhere else,
someone else,
together but apart,
apart from the winter seeping though the windows and cracks,
apart from ourselves.

What is it that winter does
to alienate, even as we come together?
We turn inside ourselves
sink deeper, further than this moment
seeking a warmth
hidden inside.

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Toronto, by air

A city afloat –

grey blocks, stacked and still,

reach to where the land ends

to where lake and sky meet;

soft pink streaks through the whites of fog and cloud.

My window onto desertion:

the only stirring in the early morning chill

is the silent breath-billowing of steam, exhaust,

lives suspended.

Everything

You may recall

in years to come

this feeling, this place –

home, yes,

(we all think of home)

but I mean home right now,

today;

at some vague, future time

something like these sweet smells,

brandy-soaked fruit (Christmas cakes)

and the lingering memory of breakfast’s bacon,

might bring you back to now,

you might hear the comforting melancholy

of winter jazz playing quietly on a radio,

and recall the way the winter sun infused everything

as it slanted through a filter of snow-clouds and bare branches,

you might feel the deep warmth of home,

of us, here, together.

*

Oh, right now

I know it’s just another day

a regular, lazy Sunday

a day of idle movies

of someone somewhere cooking –

peripheral,

hardly worth noting.

*

But if ever you ask me then

whether I remember now,

I will smile slightly and say

I remember, and

it was everything.

Scheduling time

How long I have fought against the grain,
against my natural rhythm
my internal clock ticking
counter to everyone else.

As a child, I wanted to sleep
but my father
and the sun (streaming through windows)
had other plans,
banging and clanging,
the beat of cutlery disentangling itself
for a breakfast ready too soon.

As the mother of a young child
I adjusted to the quick beats of another’s heart
up early to greet new adventures
while I, groggy, still clung to dreams,
straggling along in his wake and, finally,
coffee-sharpening mind
ready for the requirements of school.

There was, I think, a brief interlude,
independence asserted
between childhood and parenthood
I wound my own watch
set time to my own desires
late classes and jobs and evenings under dancing stars…

And now I find myself unclaimed
in a strange undetermined no man’s land
between two rhythms,
two lives,
my beat discordant,
not quite my own…yet.

But the possibilities of time – my time –
stretch before me.
Infinite.
Mine.