UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO LINKS
From: Pearl. in Queen rat: new and selected poems. Toronto: Anansi, 1998. p.144-5.
Sly and second-sighted, my friends have abandoned ship. Rats,
escaping in small grey
lifeboats, their annular tails turn the tide, their lambent eyes, like the
moon, dictate its flow.
The violinist plays Autumn as the masts unfold, water lilies in the
pitch of the sea.
A message in semaphore, what I have always longed to know -- to stand
by the stern, and
with courage, let go. Nostalgia's poison
love spreads out like a sheaf of photographs, memory without blood,
a fluked anchor,
undone. The line that breaks when the storm comes, the truth that
red skies without delight,
a bad sign. To navigate you must know where you are going, with an
pin-stuck with ellipses. Accidents, typhoon, the fibrous stakes of sea
monsters, the diamond ice caps,
miracles that have changed course, carved passages into the new
worlds, where sailors
arise. In white militia,
letters come like gulls flat on the crest of waves, infatuation coursing,
like a science of chaos,
they appear in envelopes of ice, intermittent ghosts — to remind me
that love is spectral,
The rapids were turbulent toward the Asian corridor, sailing into
Lachine. It is China, after all.
Rare and fragile, esteemed from a great distance,
protected in shelf-ice.
I touch this china from rim to stem, and feel its raised flowers,
brought to me from the ocean's
floor. In spite of the danger, the mariners have garlanded the stingray
—as the lashings narrowed,
they retrieved me from the wreck.
Lynn Crosbie's works copyright © to the author.