Autumn Song in 4 Voices 1 On one of the last warm days / on the rez, we want 2 3 4 1 music. So, Frank puts on / a Nils Frahm record 2 as the autumn 3 4 1 The Whole Universe Wants to be Touched – 2 flies cling / to the last rays of green, gold, orange sun. 3 4 1 Human Range – ForeverChangeless – 2 Inside every window, they buzz / an insistent yearning 3 4 1 2 to live / an extra day or two. 3 But tomorrow will not answer. / Unhurried, 4 1 Momentum – 2 They keep coming. Buzz. 3 I bring the flyswatter down. / Again. Again. It’s not 4 1 Fundamental Values – 2 Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. 3 personal. / We just want to hear / the pianette 4 1 Harm Hymn – 2 3 and marimbas. /I play along with Nils, / a light 4 Our dog 1 2 Decrescendo. 3 percussive tap, tap, tap / on the glass. 4 starts barking / staccatos / at a passing car. 1 It 2 is 3 all 4 A turkey vulture circles in the sky. melody. Road Trip We watch our lives disappear in the rear window. The city, its veneer of smoke and mirrors, its reflection a promise that money is always closer than it appears. My hands slick on the wheel, nerves like dandelions about to fly, bearing the dream of making a new home somewhere else. Our dog whines, vomits on the seat then falls asleep. We drive past motels and gas stations, until we are nineteen again and all we see is sky. You teach me how to recognize trees birch: white pine: cones cedar: giizhik I bury my nose in the sweetness of peeling trunks and needled branches, remember the softness of leaves and bark. The earth, opening to me like a sunrise for the first time. Combo 5 1. Today I choose / the memory of you / picking me up from kindergarten / our Friday treat / I have grasped at clouds / for others / you knitting / gardening / picking out fish bones with perfect technique / If I am not careful / these will be / the only ones I keep 2. I remember / on the 49 bus / you saying Hallo / to the driver and everyone else / Hallo / Hallo / Hallo / I watched in wonder as you / received what you gave / faces turning to you / like sunflowers / to the sun no such thing / as small revolutions 3. I remember / our final test / lining up at the Fraser McDonald’s, long gone / How can I help you two today? / You, pushing a slip of paper forward, / a quick glance / a nod / and it was done / Combo 5, / Fish Filet meal / comin’ right up 4. I remember / our onlookers’ amazement. / a miracle, us getting what we came for / with nothing more than a Hallo / and a number on scrap paper / a miracle of fish and bread 5. But above all / I remember your dismay / when, after devouring my burger / my face messy with sauce, I would not / share my fries. I Once Thought I could be happy in pieces, living a hundred lives, each a stranger to the others. If I made my selves small enough, maybe I could fit each shameful crumb into a box— one for family one for church one for friends one for me just me. Neat and tidy. How easy it is to tuck your self away, to become a lonely house of private rooms whose corners the sun could never reach.
About the Author:
Grace is a settler living in Ontario on the traditional and Treaty territory of the Anishinabek people, now known as the Chippewa Tri-Council comprised of the Beausoleil, Rama, and Georgina Island First Nations. Her debut collection of poetry, The Language We Were Never Taught to Speak, is published by Guernica Editions and a Lambda Award finalist. Her work can be found in Grain Magazine, Contemporary Verse 2, Arc Poetry, and elsewhere.
*Featured image by Goran Tomic