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The Surface of Things

John Oughton
From:   Take With You What You've Left. Toronto: Sixth Floor Press, 1993.
Reprinted by permission of the publisher.


"We seem to be drawn on in the wake of some fast flying
always disappearing black object, drawn rapidly ahead of us…"

        — Virginia Woolf, "Gas"


Dreaming in bed, Thursday haunts.
If it is, I should be teaching, not here,
Or is it Wednesday? The waking world
Says "Monday." Next, a tall man
Runs up the walk, his long pole's
Snagged something vague and grey
Under the surface, pulls it
From a lawn's pool. I think "salmon?"
It extends fins, a lateral rainbow.

These still swim in me later
As I set my class to writing
An essay on violent rap lyrics.
A counsellor's at the door:
"Is this student present?" No.
Her family can't reach her.
He shows me the fax: her mother
Just killed in the Ivory Coast.
She doesn't know, is out there
Somewhere in grey Scarborough,
Chasing her mother's death —
Something yet unseen, dark below
The surface of things.



John Oughton's works copyright © to the author.


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