Queen's Quarterly

Queen's Quarterly
Queen's Quarterly

The Infinite Park

Peter Unwin

It was the hottest day of the year
and those arrived from war-torn places
played in the park with coloured balls and barbecues.
A man strummed guitar by himself on a bench.
He didn’t care if anyone listened. The notes
leapt into the steaming air like bird seed
chucked to a starving flock and somewhere
Shakespeare was enunciated from an outdoor stage.

Terrible things had happened. Words were spoken
 that could not be taken back. Long walks
were had that went nowhere and resolved nothing.
The heat made it clear that even nature hated us.
It was the hottest day of the year
and everything had fallen apart.

There were homeless people in the park
and people who were not homeless but powerless
just the same. Two women played tennis
in the encroaching dark. Joggers jogged
but ended up no further from themselves
than when they started.

* poem, in its entirety, is available in the printed version of the current issue.


Peter Unwin is the author of numerous books, including the novel Searching for Petronius Totem and the story collection Life Without Death, shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award. His latest novel, Written in Stone, and his new poetry collection, The Infinite Park, have just been released by Cormorant Books. He lives in Toronto with his wife and two daughters. He is a member of PEN Canada.