Current Issue Excerpts


ROGER HASH

Umbrellas
     and Love



"If you take an umbrella with you, it never rains.
Forget it, now that's when it pours."
Wise words of a mother. So I took one
with me, and it stayed just breezy.
Until I saw you down the street. In a huge gust
of wind, the umbrella, though furled at my side,
blew inside out, and my life suddenly became
ten bare metal ribs
through not knowing you yet. Its handle
in my hand yanked me upwards, away from you,
towards you, away from you, too inexperienced
in flight to meet yet. The spokes:
ten commandments, each pointing
in a different, even opposite, direction.
The plastic canopy: only a temporary shield
against flame-throwing eyes, should you look at me
with a sweeping riot-police gaze
to drive back young male protestors of love.
Then the capsized canopy gusted into a new,
wind-tunnelled shape, aerodynamic
as a stealth bomber, that jetted me away,
completely unseen by you, down the street.
Brolly, gamp, parapluie, bumbershoot,
so many words for what we carry
because we hope never to use it, and that carries
us off instead. A parapluie
that becomes another para, a disappointing
letdown, a deflating, abandoned parachute.
Still, that brolly taught me that no screen
can hold off, or deal with, love at first sight.

ROGER NASH is inaugural Poet Laureate of the City of Greater Sudbury and a past president of the League of Canadian Poets. Literary awards include the Canadian Jewish Book Award for Poetry and the PEN/O. Henry Prize Story Award. His latest collection of poetry is Climbing a Question (Quattro Press, fall 2019).


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