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

Boatyard

Jane Munro
From:   Point No Point


High tide at four a.m.
He woke me in the dark.
I rode beside him
on the chill and slippery front seat
across the old Second Narrows bridge,
its deck thrumming under the tires,
the car's headlights
hollowing hazy tunnels
all the way to the North Shore, then
along the lower road,
down the bumpy lane,
to the tall shed on the waterfront.

On weekends, the boatyard smelled spicier
than mother's cedar chest. She
was also for ships. My brother and I played
under her steep hull in drifts
of fragrant sawdust.
I collected blonde ringlets—
shavings from the heavy planes
used to groom her planks—
and stuck them through my hair.

Now they'd hoisted her from the cradle
and set her at the top of the slip,
its massive tracks creosoted. The pilings below
barnacled and crusted with mussels.
He swung me onto his shoulders
and we waited. Water licked and gurgled.
Its oily gleam crept up the black timbers,
dipped like a slide into the harbour.
Seaweed smell. Tar smell. Copper paint smell.
The tweed of his jacket against my legs.
Orange tips of cigarettes.
The sky lightening as the tide came in.
Her prow on the slip above us. A few gruff words.
He stepped forward, told me, Hold on.
I hugged his head and pressed my ankles
against the sides of his chest.
His back twisted, and with a mighty swing, he flung
a bottle through the air. It smashed,
spilling glass and champagne
down the curve of her keel.
Cheering. Creaking. Another shout,
and the tall shadowy hull slid down the slip
and became a boat, settling in
like the other boats.
The men said, Right pretty,
and went about shaking hands.
I rode, buoyed by his pride,
above their heads.



Jane Munro'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