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Published in 1986, The Weight of Oranges created a sensation, garnering the kind of praise rarely accorded a first book of poems. It went on to win the Commonwealth Prize for the Americas. Miner’s Pond appeared in 1991 and received the ...
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Published in 1986, The Weight of Oranges created a sensation, garnering the kind of praise rarely accorded a first book of poems. It went on to win the Commonwealth Prize for the Americas. Miner’s Pond appeared in 1991 and received the Canadian Authors Association Award, and was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award and the Trillium Award.
“The face of the city changes more quickly, alas! than the mortal heart.”
- Charles Baudelaire
So much of the city is our bodies. Places in us old light still slants through to.
Places that no longer exist but are full of feeling,
like phantom limbs.
Even the city carries ruins in its heart.
Longs to be touched in places only it remembers.
Through the yellow hooves of the ginkgo, parchment light;
in that apartment where I first touched your shoulders under your sweater,
that October afternoon you left keys in the fridge, milk on the table.
The yard — our moonlight motel —
where we slept summer’s hottest nights,
on grass so cold it felt wet.
Behind us, freight trains crossed the city,
a steel banner, a noisy wall.
Now the hollow diad floats behind glass in office towers also haunted by our voices.
Few buildings, few lives are built so well even their ruins are beautiful.
But we loved the abandoned distillery:
stone floors cracking under empty vats,
wooden floors half rotted into dirt,
stairs leading nowhere, high rooms run through with swords of dusty light.
A place the rain still loved, its silver paint on rusted things that had stopped moving it seemed, for us.
Closed rooms open only to weather,
pungent with soot and molasses,
scent-stung. A place where everything too big to take apart had been left behind.