For the Journey
Grown up and living back near home
carrying only the weight of myself
and a job verging on career, with travel.
An immigrants’ daughter
with no memory of birth, place, or family
save a Nova Scotian childhood starting at five.
Today I’m training to Toronto
(yes, they say that here)
with a vegan attaché of important papers
appointments to keep, and snacks for the road,
including a plastic baggie
of cut carrots—not those baby missile cores
with their white blush of imitation,
but real ones, dug from ‘the’ garden
yesterday, during a February thaw—
so fresh, they aren’t even peeled.
Of course, I’m thinking of place
and roots and hands.
My father’s broad ones scooping back soil
and my mother’s, thin and cool
rinsing carrots at the kitchen sink—
homesick for all they still hold.
I Know You Remember
It starts with a summer
A sun in the sky, a girl in the grass
The sun is yellow, the sky is blue, the grass is green.
And there’s always a house
Always a door, always a path to the door
Always four windows, a chimney smoking.
And most of a family, stick figures standing
Half the size of the house
All with two eyes and smiles that say nothing.
But the girl?
The girl, the girl is flat in the grass
Drawn last with that stumpy black crayon
Always used up first, its wrapper
Yes, the one you still taste
Tearing into the ends with your teeth
Spitting paper bits and wax
To keep drawing in black.