Just outside the zone the tourist map
describes as downtown
there’s a giant pile of some commodity
that recently was underground.
Gravel, road-salt, potash, coke?
Giant piles stand out in this geography.

The wind, though strong, is temperate
that drives the grit on Twentieth
against my cheek and then my neck
as I walk half-way down the alphabet
and turn back past the tracks.
Cash for anything. One café.

Nearer to the river there’s pavilions,
jazz-free jazz and willow fluff galore.
Imagine this wind trebled, though, and cold.
From the grill of almost every car
block heater three-prongs loll,
useless as tongues in this heat, waiting.

Was someone’s cancer killed
by peaceful cobalt bombing?
Was someone’s heart restored
by Joni Mitchell’s tough-love love songs?
Was Gordie Howe a favourite?
Thank this giant town, this tiny fruit.

The city, with or without sentiment,
settles on its heritage and shifting banks
at an elbow of the native land.
The art is by the otherwise at risk
on civic switching boxes otherwise left blank.
Add the gopher and the magpie to your list.

The river is a mountain, but stretched out on its side,
arriving quickly when you first arrive
and leaving quickly when you leave.
And if you stay, as many have and will,
it swirls around the pylons of the bridges
deciding how the sediment will lie.


Author’s Bio

BRENT RAYCROFT lives north of Kingston Ontario. His poetry has appeared in Vallum, Arc, Prairie Fire, Freefall, CV2, Grain, the Walrus, The Broken City and elsewhere. The Subtleties of Divine Creatures, a single-poem chapbook, was recently published by Thee Hellbox Press.