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The Goose and the Commuter Train

Marvyne Jenoff
From:   Crackerjack Umbrella. Twoffish Press, 2008.


I guess this makes me
the girl in Mississauga with the brown umbrella,
now that the girl in Toronto with the green umbrella
lent hers to you yesterday.

This morning, on your way to Toronto to return the green umbrella
you take along my brown one
in case it should rain on your way back here to Mississauga.

All we need now is a girl in Toronto with a blue umbrella
to complete the classic situation
of the man on the two-seater raft:

he had to cross the river first with the goose and
leave it on the other side,
then come back
and take the buckwheat over,
leave it on the other side
and come back with the goose,
then take the fox over
and leave it with the buckwheat,
and finally come back again for the goose,

if he wanted to end up on the other side
with all the eyes intact.

Still, I want you to feel free to borrow
my brown umbrella any time.

Everyone knows we were childhood friends
and I wouldn't want you to be seen
with cloud on your face.

I also have an orange and white umbrella
with blossoms in the Chinese manner,
zebras, anemones,
fish that utter dreams.

You glimpsed it once.
You may think that's the one you have right now
tucked under your arm so its wings
won't flap on the train.

But I want you to know
the things I give you to take away to Toronto—
my keys, my past—
are spare.



Marvyne Jenoff's works copyright © to the author.


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