Here are two memories I keep like photographs.
First is a field on fire, lit up in the heat wave of 1989
that tore through all of Ontario that August. A white van
at the edge waiting to collect us kids for the hospital
where mum hollered herself through another labour –
you this time – wild flames stealing up tree lengths,
rapid and terrifying, the hazy, broiling air
haloing the swing sets, our abandoned bicycles.
The next is of my father, always unfashionable,
edgy only as a teenager is edgy, drunk and careless,
thinly concealing kaleidoscopic turmoil, a frantic mania.
He is standing on a table – a lit cigarette in his hand
for character – he is telling a story to an audience: look
at that confident smile he wears, that double-dealing grin.
The story is an old one, spun to tease and to rouse,
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It’s been a long time, but not so long that much has changed; well, not for me anyway. I see the careers of my friends flourish. I see the bellies of my friends swell with the promise of a new kind of love. I see people commit to each other for always. I see the seasons change, perhaps more slowly than usual, and yet I am stationary, not still, but stationary.
For those wondering what has fuelled this messy, unplanned entry it won’t surprise you to learn that this weekend is both Father’s Day and my dead mother’s birthday. Sometimes, I let these things pass without a mention. It makes me feel more in control to keep it to myself, or to show everyone that I’m not intent on grieving forever, but the anticipation has been causing me to have panic attacks, and to take more drugs-GABA, benzos, and, my…
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