Queen's Quarterly

Queen's Quarterly
Queen's Quarterly


Tim Bowling

“Get to bed, Jazzman,” my teenaged son says,
coming upon my post-midnight melancholy music listening.
“Go to ground. Fox-burrow that brow-furrow.
Isn’t it wild that on a curved planet
we don’t keep sliding off into cold stellar space,
regrets, speakers, vintage vinyl collection and all?”

“The resident orca population in my blood
has declined, son. It isn’t as easy to pick up my shadow
like a briefcase and board the spirit-bus to work.”

“That won’t cut it, Gloom-spinner. Open your heart
like a surprise Christmas card from an old friend.
Haven’t you shown me the cherry blossoms falling
in the streetlamp’s shimmer at the end of childhood’s street?
Sung of the bubblegum taste of the first kiss
under the government wharf on a brackish slack?
Does Time mitigate even the memory of sensation?”

The full moon spills its guts on the hardwood floor.
The dog moans in his sleep. My son’s eyes are full
of chlorine and laughter and young limbs descending
the disco moves of water. What would you have me
say to him? Yesterday’s pretty but tomorrow’s prettier?

“I’m staying up,” I finally manage, “to recollect
my father’s syntax and my mother’s cadence,
to hear and feel, but never see, the geese going over the fallow earth,
to stand again on the stoop of the torn down house
in the fury of the willow fronds in a storm …”

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


Edmontonian Tim Bowling’s twenty-first book, The Call of the Red-Winged Blackbird: Essays on the Common and Extraordinary, will be published by Wolsak & Wynn in the autumn of this year.