oughtful

poems, photographs, prose
by matthew

august 9, 2006 · tags: newfoundland poetry photography

cold shoulder


standing on the shoulders
of a road needing repair, trying to decide
if the sun's risen yet, and if this's
considered fog, or rain. you can just make out
fireweed smouldering on the side of the road,
puddles the colour of cold tea. behind you
the ferry terminal's string of strong lights
punches holes in the parking lot, and a steady stream of lowbeams
drifts up the incline. don't suppose anyone notices, at least not
this early in the morning, your faded stain of rainjacket
against a landscape like an unmade bed, a trampled sod of hair,
a thumb glumly aimed at the wind
like an illegible weathervane, and a sign hoping:
St. John's. might as well be a billboard
bidding Welcome to Newfoundland and Labrador,
for all the attention it's got so far. walking backwards
out of port-aux-basques, the road's shoulders slowly rise
in a resigned shrug, as if to ask What did you expect?
What possessed ya? What got into your head
that made this sound sensible? possibly it was
a drop of salt water, a bit of birdshit, some scrap
of radio static, a musicnote wrongly wrung.
perhaps you mistakenly used
your sister's shampoo, the one labelled
for wild tangles. could've been a combination
of moonlight, homemade wine, and saliva
from the tongue of a certain young woman
who's spent too much time up north. a ladybug,
an earwig, an incubus. in any case
it's cleared out now, just like that last
straggling minivan. this isn't quite
what you had in mind.

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