Canadian Poetry Online top banner link to Canadian Poetry Online home page link to University of Toronto Libraries home page

P.O.W.

Gary Geddes
From:   Skaldance, 2004


He grew remote, acquired a language
I could not decipher. My airman, my high—
flyer, cryptic, hieratic, more complicated
than Linear B, or the Dresden Codex.

Demented not demotic, and no Rosetta Stone
to tap. I failed to crack his code,
its glyphs and glygers, the Dead Sea
Scroll of love I languished in. I regressed,

mute in the face of shifting vowels, lost
consonants. Tore my hair, mouthed vows,
cursed this vain enigma in his cuneiform.
Dismissed, of course, as menopause,

the rash that formed upon my belly
proof enough. And sleep, that famous
balm, exploded in my face. Other things
on his mind: war, unfinished business

in Dundee. Or was it Dunsinane? I was one
witch too many, no Orkney wood to order
wrapped as camouflage. I'd ruined his precious
furlough; the poems he'd planned to write

were out the window. I could kiss the ass
of my Italian gardener, for all he cared,
stepping into his plane. And so I did,
as well as all his other parts. One by one,

I felt my unvoiced cells rejuvenate; the itch
migrated south. I couldn't get enough
of him, his crazy grin, the ridge of dirt
beneath his nails. Even the quaint

Catholic saints he painted on his tin roof's
corrugations performed sweet ministries
—coleslaw phonemes, pasta pictographs—
till I too, earth-bound, human, got my wings.



Gary Geddes's works copyright © to the author.


Canadian Poetry Online bottom banner link to University of Toronto Libraries home page link to Digital Collections home page link to University of Toronto Library catalogue link to Canadian Poetry Online home page link to University of Toronto Libraries home page