After the Canadian Poetry Festival
Bill and I huddled together
on the sidewalk. A row of almost naked poplar trees closed off the
neighbor’s yard. Someone had lopped their lower branches and
strung electric wires in their place. Behind the poplars, a scraggly
shed leaned into the twilight.
Bill hummed tunelessly. He tapped a cigarette on his Zippo lighter,
packing tobacco tight against its filter. A whistle blew in the
distance, and shoulder pads smacked against helmets. Bill stopped
humming. He lit his cigarette.
“Want some chips?” I offered him the half-empty bag.
He waved it off. A jet’s trail glowed in the sunset. Its reflection
burned pink on the Cornershop’s big front window.
Half-frozen butts littered the pavement. I spat the last, too-salty
mouthful of chips into a puddle.
“Floor them all?” asked Bill. He took another drag and
hunched further into his jacket.
“Once a mouth, always pliant” I replied. “When
failure is seductive.”
Bill raised his left eyebrow and smirked, “Set on fumble a
day rich in colour?”
“Sadomodernism.” I scrunched my chip bag and chucked
“Total bummer.” Bill flicked his butt to the ground.
“I’m fuckin’ cold,” he
complained. “Let’s go watch T.V.”