Sunday, July 15, 2007
In Which, Many Years Later in Vancouver, We Watch a Movie Made in Saskatoon
by Beverley Bie Brahic
At the bottom of the garden a flat brown ribbon,
the Saskatchewan, reels through prairie
and the city where a woman snaps sweet peas
and blows kisses at the camera. Sweet peas
the color of sweet peas fixed
by 60-year-old sunbeams; the sun—the same sun—
splatters raspberry canes and a border
of salvia, blood dried rusty brown;
outside Dad’s den, that we’ve squeezed into
to review this relic—now on video—
the same sun casts teepee shadows
across the winter beds, a bluff
above the ocean, which sighs.
Gusts of sweet peas and nostalgia.
The woman is beautiful, a mother
whose infant totters on the lawn. The father is overseas.
He has not seen his daughter. Was the movie for him?
You'd never guess there was a war on. A table
set in the garden, grass mowed,
shrubs and hedges and unscathed people
nod to the camera. Who is the absent eye
behind the camera? The mother changes;
baby naked, then in gingham
scorched at the edges, and flesh ocher.
The lawn is evergreen, chairs familiar
but the river is gone, my mother says.
Under the garden’s particles of light,
my mother says. The river is gone.
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Beverley Bie Brahic is Canadian. Her poems have appeared in The Fiddlehead, Poetry (Chicago), Poetry Review, the TLS, Verse and elsewhere. The winner of a Canada Council Emerging Writer Grant, her collection Against Gravity was published by Worple Press last year. She is the translator of books by Hélène Cixous and Jacques Derrida, as well as several French poets, and she lives in Paris.
This is part of a series of poems from invited poets. Previous contributors were Luke Heeley, Joe Ross, George Szirtes, Elizabeth Spackman, Ivy Alvarez, Rufo Quintavalle, Todd Swift and Michelle Noteboom. Illustration by Jonathan Wonham.