The Goldfish

A mass of hair and limbs buries her face
into a magnolia flower; three days ago
this tree was nothing but bones and desire.

A child pushes into a cupped hand.
A hand grasping towards the sky,
hungry for air and sun and warmth.

It is April and still snowing.
The forsythia, in a shock of yellow,
has come to Toronto’s defense,
attempting to drive back winter.

Mary Pickford (of 211 University Avenue),
a mass of hair and limbs, is desperate:
It is April and still snowing.

In a pet store, a goldfish’s glint
pulls at her eye, pulls at her hand–
pulls her towards its gilt, crescent body.

She is running down Bloor Street,
She is running with a dancing fish,
cupped between her hands;
she is running.

She slows in tandem with the fish,
Its fervent dancing has tapered to a hiccup.
Mary Pickford drops its limp and brilliant body,
a street car passes, a fish lies still and golden.

Mary shoves her nose towards stigma,
anther and odour. Seeking solace in a tree,
heavy with fleshy petals.

Augury in Toronto

It isn’t apple season. These apples
were reared by Pinochet. Carefully
cultivated in Chile’s furrowed brow.
It isn’t apple season—it’s time for
the rutabaga and radish to revel.

The snow presses down against the city
(the snow that loved the city before
R.C. Harris built an altar to worship
water). It has loved Toronto before
indiginous tongues forgot consonant
clusters. Before the snow loved the big smoke,
and before Tkaronto was suffocated,
the snow lusted after the lake.

These apples: cultivated in Chile’s
furrowed brow. It isn’t apple season:
the snow presses down, loving the place where
trees stand in the water. Today I watched
a man. I doubt anyone could match his
perfect pitch (even before the place where
trees stand in the water became Toronto).
No amount of rehearsing could rival
that languid launch. Today I studied—

A man abused by the seasons:
Winter had pulled at his eyes.
Spring had pinched at his cheeks.
Summer had prodded at his brow.
And autumn had beat at his heart.

The seasons had left him, the same way the
snow will leave Toronto for her other
lovers. The seasons had left him wrinkled
and gleeful— his accessory flesh fading.
These apples cultivated in Chile’s
furrowed brow had been exiled by the
supermarket junta to the half-rotten
dollar bin to be picked over by those
forgotten by seasons. It isn’t apple season.

These apples, reared by Pinochet, were culled
in Chile. I appraised the manner in
which he threw Eve’s temptation between
streetcar tracks. I assessed the way his knuckles
clenched with anticipation. Waiting.
Waiting for that big red brute to come and
splinter that apple across King street and
reveal the secrets.

Secrets that would come as the snow left.
The secrets lusted after by the snow.
The secrets suckling at the bottom of
lake Ontario. Secrets known to
the carp, but not the snow.