Queen's Quarterly

Queen's Quarterly
Queen's Quarterly

On Chester Avenue

Maureen Hynes

Stamped down but not-yet-
sullied snow on February streets –
startled & heartened by the small
magnolia tree’s comma-shaped
buds, thick at the head & tapering
at the tail, their grey plumpness.

A nod of thanks to these promises.

On Chester Avenue a winter bake sale
held by four or six or eight children, signs
lettered in pink & blue & posted in snowbanks –
Bake Sale to Save Australian Animals.
My heart lurched & warmed & failed –
oh, I did not stop, wanting to get
to class on time, even though
the young girl with the very brown
eyes looked right into mine, asking
me to stop, buy a cookie or a bun. How
could I have refused her?

Fresh road snow, roof & lawn snow, sidewalk
snow, snow rows along the curbs – all
gleaming with the slight grey etchings
of last night’s full Aquarian moon.
The snowfall has not covered all thought
of the burned Australian animals, but
four or six or eight children are clambering
all over it, melting it away.


Maureen Hynes’ most recent book, Sotto Voce (Brick, 2019), was a finalist for the Pat Lowther Award and the Golden Crown Literary Society’s poetry award. She is a past winner of the League of Canadian Poets’ Gerald Lampert Prize for her first book of poetry, Rough Skin. Her fourth poetry book, The Poison Colour, was a finalist for both the league’s Pat Lowther and Raymond Souster awards.