events ephemera people about home

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 it away.
“Total bummer.” Bill flicked his butt to the ground. “I’m fuckin’ cold,” he
complained. “Let’s go watch T.V.”
Peter Jaeger