So Long It's Been

Original Text: 
Phyllis Gotlieb, The Works: Collected Poems (Toronto: Calliope Press, 1978): 58-59.
1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 ...,
they explain
the way seeds spiral in the sun
flower and pine scales
twist in the cone
I tell you LYNDHURST 8325
means the house my aunt moved from in 1942
and I remember the cousins who said 20 years ago:
call us when you 're in town, the number 's
but I forget their names
1time to clear the silent
2sullen round of numbers stacked in my
4                  clear HOWARD 0141 where the one
5armed man lived next door and Mrs. Goldfarb
6with her slipstraps slid on her fat pink arms
7                                                                 clear
8HARGRAVE 8375 where the park sweeps below the railing
10deck sailing a sea of limbo washed with
113 old skaters 7 tennis players and a shattered
14Goodbye Mrs Gersten, Miss Fernandez, Miss Fleuhrer &
15all burglars anonymous uncaught who tied up my
16father & stole the safe, or his lunch, or sometimes
17even $$$$
18               clear GERRARD 2222 (too) easy to remember Call
19me anytime Mr Wallace walks me in the schoolyard &
20knowing does not tell me my grandmother
21                                                            LAKESIDE 0007
22never liked flowers because they reminded her of
23funerals: how many roses from hers have I found
24cracking the backs of Uncle Nissel's
25SCHUYLER 4-7767 old encylopedias?
26                                                          clear GROVER 9595
27where I pulled the kid cousin's braids, ate
30               numbers that lived in me clear clear clear no
31answer, nobody lives
32there any more
my ghost directories are
yellowpage clear through, the
crossroads of the past
are one-way thoroughfares


0] Fibonacci: Leonardo Pisano Fibonacci (1170-1250), a mathematician who discovered the sequence in which each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers. Back to Line
9] Broadview Ave: a north-south thoroughfare in east Toronto. Back to Line
13] otherwise known as The Music Hall, Toronto. Back to Line
28] knishes: Yiddith term for baked or fried dough pieces stuffed with cheese, meat, or fruit. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
Ordinary, Moving. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1969.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
Special Copyright: 

Copyright The Works: Collected Poems of Phyllis Gotlieb Calliope Press 1978