Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Big Canadian Welcome

twenty poets were gathered in an antebellum square
flowerbed by the fountain –
benches by cool stone walls

(a cascade of banks, pharmacies, the general store)

and each poet wrote a poem for the scene
and for uninquisitive passing clouds –
a child’s smile caught in the memory amber of storefront glass

that feeling just on the periphery of being
a solid handshake with an event – then everyone
moved on to the corner restaurant – wine and lunch

then home again, home again, to wife and children

at 23:00h when the moon was skidding along treetops
and an owl heard the sound of a mouse in flowerbed –

(a convoy passed the square, transporting body bags,
the soiled clothes of dreams, duty and an empty soul)

it was February, on the 401, somewhere west of Trenton (or did it
begin just outside of Pickering), I began to see people standing
on bridges, looking east

I realized that another body was returning from Afghanistan –
homage to change in spite of politics –

outside of Trenton, a young man stood on a concrete guard at the side
of the highway, Canadian flag held in parade position

at the next overpass, the bridge was commandeered by EMS vehicles,
lights flashing, waiting at the beginning of
the end of the long road home for a Canadian soldier

down the highway of heroes

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