Fictions, a poem by Robin Tremblay-McGaw from HOW(ever) 1989

Robin Tremblay-McGaw
photo by Camille Roy


this time he's leaving her teetering
in a skiff pushing
off into mist lake
sounds other world
her scarf
trails in the water of her own boat
a woman leaning her hair
washes lilies leaving
a scarred surface silent
after you he plunges in below
the surface is gutsy enough to
swim beneath the raft
barnacle covered can
grazes his back at the spine a fish
frightens him with its sudden
appearance while bodies cannonball by him
he's tan and you can see
the outline of him beneath the
flimsy barrier of swim trunks
reef she thinks
hot summer boy black curls
press into her as they dance
she leaps into grass
another boy she steals into the twilight
for us the boy (was he really
a boy wasn't he) hung
himself from the oak
in his parents' frontyard the school
bus passed and we all saw him only
a white sheet covered
body but we saw and then
the erasing he kisses
a girl in jail puts
another boy's cock in his
mouth she paints her nails
yellow with a marker he
bicycles everyday to
work his mother fixes cheeseburgers a quart of milk
in his ear a woman whispers push off
from the shoreline he tells
his mother old man P__'s gravestone
moves a little on its base each
year he says he's marked
the change himself it is
morning tufts of hair curl into his ears
the press of fluid on his bladder forces him
from the bed across the cool
wood floor to the bathroom a
lizard slips over
the flagstone in another country an elderly
woman has her tea smears
her pink ice lipstick on the cup her
white cloth napkin her hand on
the mirror when she leans too
close lean close comes to him and
fishing is the order of the day sunstroke
breaststroke her thighs expanding
and then snapping shut venus flytrap
infectious ivy spreads over them and they
are fixed for certain one spot
where anyone can see can
point with ease comfort something
that is known a tree
in the wind creaks only
which one is it they move
together just as you get your I'm
sitting on this bridge
no way for him to get
past me somehow he appears on the other
bank water trickling and trees
bursting in the wind she
thinks they're real

Working Notes, Robin Tremblay-McGaw:

I'm interested in the disallowed. Experience, dream, memory, time, vision, lies overlap. become indistinguishable. part of the text. of our lives. suspension in. a state between sleep, wakefulness. other. a mystery. the desire to write/explore. the ineffable brings me the page.

from HOW(ever) Vol. 5 No. 3 April 1989

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