I imagine it was before the ceremony, before
they all started drinking and sharing cigarettes,
because her dress looked properly stiff and she's pensive.
But more about this dress—
cinched tightly at the waist smoothed over her gathered knees,
large-collared, crowning sleeves with little wings.
I can’t see her shoes—they’re
not in the photo—but her stockings are no longer black
they’re a brushed ice under her buttoned armor
and about her shoulders whips a heavy blue cape lined in blood red—
it looks like it would be itchy from the photo, and makes me scratch under
my chin where I see hers clasped. But a wind is blowing the cape open,
blowing back her curls and cowlicks, strands floating over the top
of her cap
She’s sitting on a rock looking into the wind.
North by North
for Rockwell Kent
I was looking for shipwrecks
for broken lives and froth
at the edge of human-ness
and you stole my north, my compass
turned, towards your north
in whites, your north by water.
Women huddled facing, men crawled away
from their provider
attracted or breathless
and almost over, like it never happened
but betrayed by numbers, so,
life under a coat, a triangle of yours
drawn from the knees, isosceles leaning
one watches, one wails, one comforts
on the prominence, done.
We traveled similar paths, yours in youth, mine
in my mother’s life
(a Newfie fish eater)
framed through her limbs, and her feet then
in father’s, a basket of
ice and secrets—why is it called Greenland
and which do I love more,
line or story? Maybe they walked where you did.
Can I say I, too, can I say ours?
Because I knew when I saw it / you. My eyes
entering you saw my own lack of courage
but felt there
and the leathery brush by the cottage,
and a flight over crucifixion,
and the seal’s red flesh like a magnet, north.
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