Chinook Arch

duress warps perspective,
at first I hate this place, surround myself with other haters,
all here not so much by choice as by circumstance,
the Job, the head office that demands my suited presence,
hair twisted into a knot, feral thoughts buttoned.

I don’t understand the dirty, bipolar winter,
the endless mad drone of the cars,
how the wind can shake a building with 46 floors,
or the man who claims he loves me
and yet insists I move to his vinyl sided suburban hell.

Chinooks are the saving grace, they say
but all I know is the migraine monster that grips my skull,
each time that arch appears over the mountains,
brutal talons choke my imagination, my joy,
pain so fierce I long for a guillotine.

For months, life is only about adaptation, toughing it out,
coffee, Tylenol, hippie potions,
shots of whiskey and rage alone in a midnight kitchen.
Futile boardroom negotiations, jaded colleagues,
learning the cold city like a coyote on the lam.

and then, somehow, the green sidles up seductively,
late spring in the reclaimed gulch of Confederation Park
I stop being angry long enough to stand still, really see.
Trees old as fairytales, the creek running clear,
a song from my childhood, and I remember

to really feel you have to be naked, open.
to know a place, a person, you need the courage
to be vulnerable, to let it all in.
I fall in love in that moment, vertigo so extreme
it flattens me against the warm brick of the path.

Over time, the city’s flaws become endearing, as with any lover.
My quest is to find the places where history whispers,
where the land is not paved over, where the wild ones gather
– up on Nose Hill with the deer and magpies, and a clear view
of the Chinook arch over the crazy beautiful Rockies,
or in the bookstore in Kensington with the creaky stairs,

and always the wind, a wind that whispers I’m home.

~ Dymphny Dronyk

Born in the City of Sin, in the Summer of Love, Dymphny Dronyk is a writer, editor, mediator and mother. She is passionate about the magic of story and has woven words for money (journalism, corporate writing) and for love (poetry, fiction, drama, mystery novels) for over 25 years. Her first volume of poetry Contrary Infatuations (Frontenac House, Quartet 2007) was short listed for two prestigious awards in 2008. She is also the author of the memoir Bibi – A Life in Clay (Prairie Art Gallery, 2009). With Angela Kublik, she is the co-publisher of House of Blue Skies, and co-editor of the bestselling anthologies Writing the Land – Alberta Through its Poets (2008) and Home and Away – Alberta Poets Muse on the Meaning of Home (2010).

Dymphny is also co-founder of the RE:ACT Collective, with Kris Demeanor, Rob K. Omura, Tyler Perry and Bridget Honch.

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