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   We glided on skates in a semi-circle, hands interlocked.
   Cackled like Canadian geese

   in a vortex of wind. When we spoke, the wind shredded
   our words. We chased the beaver

   into an untrammelled field where the jack pines tapered
   off into twilight. The snow uniformly swept the ice

   as though the lake was not always cracking,
   as though a voice was not breaking. Something

   like a fist emerged from four walls encircling
   the mosaic of our skin. In midwinter, Mother had arrived

   in Thunder Bay with a plaid skirt, a suitcase of dried flowers,
   a marriage certificate and an urn filled with ashes.

   Words rustled like splayed-open husks hanging
   from the catalpa. The incision of the wind, conglomerates

   of drift meeting drift. Remember when the electricity went out
   and Father's fingertip curled like a purple tendril

   under the earth, dead to everything but the clacking
   tendon locked to the trunk? Smoke tumbling out

   of a chimney. That night, we argued
   about a point of history,

   cheeks bitten by a frenzy
   of cold as we listened to the wind listening back.

Asher Ghaffar's first book of poetry, Wasps in a Golden Dream Hum a Strange Music (ECW Press, 2008), contains this poem. He is currently reading: a(A)ugust by Akilah Oliver, Animate, Inanimate Aims by Brenda Iijima and At Home in the World: Cosmopolitanism Now by Timothy Brennan.

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Author:Ghaffar, Asher
Publication:Literary Review of Canada
Article Type:Poem
Date:Jan 1, 2009
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