Queen's Quarterly

Queen's Quarterly
Queen's Quarterly

Fall Through Summer

Bill Howell

The old guy with the new straw hat.

Just the self, left over from who was asking
about the you who might’ve been.

So he recalls the best of long-gone friends
in terms of what they’ve left him with,
instead of what they did or said at the time.

the youngster with the dirty uniform.
And cars that lasted
at least as long as cats or dogs.
And in those days,
everybody had a few doves
up their sleeves,
waiting to be released
as memories.

As if we could ever choose when to let them go.

More of a verb than a noun, love
never works the way we were told it would
but still comes clean on its own.

Unsent letter drafts flapping around
in battered notebooks, each
written in the wind of its own moment.

So that after these few shy facts
have folded in on themselves,
you end up holding what’s left
of your breath, almost as if you were here.

All we try to remember instead of now,
still looking for that momentary bobble of the ball.


Bill Howell has five poetry collections, with recent work in the Antigonish Review, Canadian Literature, Cordite Poetry Review, Event, Naugatuck River Review, Prairie Fire, and Vallum. He was a producer-director at CBC Radio Drama for three decades.