Archive for August, 2015

Poem: August Rain

At some anonymous minute at five in the morning
I sit on a white stool on a black aluminum-gated balcony,
watching the orange glow of the street lamp in our alley.
My husband says that a South Asian family lives in the house
where lights come on just now and a shadow robotically prepares coffee.
I imagine Dad sitting here like I am, smoking a cigarette, already knowing
all the neighbours’ daily and nightly routines. He’d know their names,
how many kids they have, where they came from, if they were nice
or assholes, if they sold weed. And they’d know him—
the friendly chain-smoking American Vietnam veteran
whose daughter never comes out of the house because
she’s writing another book. They’d know
she was ill all the time, has three kids,
and her no-good ex-husband cheated on her when she got cancer.
They’d know that this American and his wife were from Pennsylvania
and this American hated Vancouver because he’s from
the country—American country—and it’s too rainy
and noisy and expensive here.

Turn my head to the left to figure out the distribution
of orange glows. One at every second house.

The crows are usually here, squawking out their morning roll call,
but they are keeping dry in the thick of some evergreen.

The rain woke me up. In the city that always rains,
we haven’t had much of it lately. Some are waking up
to the gentle knocking of an old friend, one who rarely goes on vacation
and is back. Even Dad wouldn’t have minded this rain.

The glitter of wet gravel,
the silky reflection of the orange glow on the roof of the doghouse,
wetness, light
dancing in the dark and otherwise.

Dad never visited this house.
We moved here when he died.
Or by design—something knowing we would need a new start.
Yet this is where his ashes lie—
in a house he never knew in the city that always cries.

It’s the wrong season to remember Dad.
It wasn’t sunny much when he was here.
But the rain woke me up
to sit on my balcony, and listen.

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