Dans La Ville
In those Ottawa streets where you and I would meet,
snowy winds toss-tumbling the bureaucratic brick,
October midnights to April mid-mornings,
bustop shelters where we'd scan the faded, always-off schedule paper,
and mix palms with smoldering smoke of breath,
I had wanted to hold you.
In the buses lined with off-putting half-plaid,
where we'd sit together amongst the girls in their
two-sizes-too-little dresses and the boys in their
two-layers-too-many aftershave, when you'd step
off in the light of the Defense Department tower,
I had wanted to kiss you.
Beneath the half-flicker of the power-saving streetlamps,
protest posters plastered to their hilts, taped
with glass glue, halo-bright touching my thriftstore
trenchcoat and your overpriced dress, where
we'd laugh about the foibles of our friends,
I had wanted to tell you.
When we walked lightly on the Gatineau bridge,
the August sun caressing you as Casablanca
sand, our footsteps still echoed in the girders
of welded iron, placed before the thought of us,
and all the time, really, truly, madly,
I had wanted to love you.
Looking out on wet-based brick of the courtyard,
jacket colours came past in dervish swirl, casting
kaleidoscope to the broken beer bottles, starring lenses
at the bottom of this cider pint.
Faces come to me, all askew in pursed annoyance,
all rightly observing the rumples in clothing,
ill-shapen form pressing tucked in scrunched
shapes, breaking limit in platonic ideal.
Causeway ice caused the diamond road pattern,
brittle breaking to weight, shifting melt
to December's uncovered sun; I could
see the slip coming, coarse inspection
with my feet up on the couch table.