The Scarborough Bluffs

1You will not find me among the women of the earth,
2Their hair wound up in buns upon their heads,
3And goosebumped legs bridged above the bath—
4I am not with them. But let it not be said
5That an Orpheus doesn’t sound them,
6That behind me suddenly he isn’t
7Eurydice, his the face to which I may not
8Turn and look, or else,
9As prayers of rescue rise to no messiah.
10Decades later and a block away
11The Alzheimer takes off her glasses and her coat
12And half-naked amid the snow she lays
13In the cedar-ribbed hull of a boat
14On neighbourless Lake Gibson, June, as five
15Stone blocks of thought trouble the lakebed.
16And all alone tonight I’ll drive
17These empty streets
18And for the first time in forever feel alive,
19Feel the secular roar of the Gardiner,
20And smile at how in the land of the nightmask
21Mascara is a kind of queenmaker.
22I leave the zoo with the moon on the park,
23The wolves asleep, the lions going down
24(even the sun leaves Scarborough before it’s dark)
25And the lot of us descend to the bluffs, dawn
26Still dog weeks off. A poker hand fresco,
27Or the close-up teeth of the damned—
28A figure in the bluffs emerges like Francesca
29From Rodin’s Gates of Hell. We discandy from the stone,
30Paolo and me, split a sweating Fresca
31And walk the eyeless avenues alone.
RPO poem Editors: 
Jim Johnstone
RPO Edition: 
Special Copyright: 

Poem used with permission of the author.