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Saskatoon Bus Depot: 8 a.m. Sunday

Lesley Choyce
From:   Beautiful Sadness. Victoria, B.C.: Ekstasis Editions, 1998.


Saskatoon Bus Depot: 8 a.m. Sunday

The Parktown Hotel's grown sterile in the night;
instead I slip to empty streets and something terminal
like this,
the nervous confusion of women in a hall
brooding over hour-long coffee
waiting for home--
for Warham and Longham,
for Biggar and Lanks,
Humboldt and Smeaton,
Carrot River, Nebo, Choiceland,
Cutknife or Livelong.

I'm at home here with the dispossessed--
the bug-eyed lady with her head wrapped
in a white towel,
the hundred year old man smiling at his toast,
the grizzled farmer rolling cigarettes with one hand
and the young, chubby sweetheart short-order cook
with eyes cut out from magazines.
I feel community in the sad restaurant
with all the sippers and smokers,
the bare-fisted bacon grabbers
and sports-page sleaze.

Outside the glass, a car stops
and a man who looks like Farley Mowat
refills a bin with Plain Truth
while Red Sovine on the radio mewls heartbreak and loss.
All day that country station
will catalogue wasted love and wayward lives
while inside the Saskatoon Bus Depot Restaurant
the Prairies collect in tabled rows,
tea cups steam in October sun
and dreams are swept up with moody brooms.

The settlers here know comfort's short on change,
that waiting's only ever half the size of life
and cities lie to country eyes
more fixed on drying fields of wheat and rye
and winter's meaner passion waiting at home.


Lesley Choyce's works copyright © to the author.


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