3 7 New Street

Clover carpets the depression of the ur-house,
the sunken half-pipe that used to hold home,
or so I’m told.
Hollyhocks burst from the left, screaming fuchsia.
Moths, white, chase the Inglewood wind, bellowing:
what is this place?
who lived here?

Walk through barefoot, your soles thistling with remembrance:
a woman
hardened
sitting
at your feet.

Dragonflies sputter with the knowledge,
buzzing by cochlea only to say:
no wonder
no wonder anymore
not here.

But you do, peeking through windows,
finding barley mementos:
Molson “Old Style” beer,
a wood-panelled station-wagon of a can.
She drank this.
She, fair to say, rough
and tumbleweeds now roll through her stomping grounds,
fire grounds.

Arson attempts at joviality,
bonfires lighting up her nights,
That One on the block,
she consumed hard, and New Street consumed her.

Early mornings-after
she filled with puff puff still,
sitting on her stoop,
tar on her fingers.
Hucking phlegm, holding bile,
she watched day arrive at her doorstep:
cream puff skies turning pink,
Jonny awakening,
love of her life.

Jonny dying,
love of her life.

Where her red pucker once pouted,
kissed,
misted vapour on Jonny,
chain smoke later choked better judgement.
She made a last-ditch deal,
sat there burning,
an ember amid clover,
hovering between past and present.

Mortgaged and fled,
the scam-scumming dirtbag
dipped into an old woman’s loneliness
and ground her retirement
into gravel.

She left that rotting timber,
that itching bedroom,
like a daisy wrenched from a corpse.
Now only absence remains,
this charnel vacancy.

But a wily rhubarb hides behind that hinging oak,
claiming its space,
claiming her space,
the lot which bred crags in her cheeks,
crows in her feet,
blaze in her heart.

~ Caitlynn Cummings

Caitlynn Cummings has an MSc in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh and writes poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama. She is the Coordinator of the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program and the former Managing Editor of the literary magazine filling Station. Her latest publication is a chapbook of short fiction entitled Chloe, published by 100 têtes Press. You can also find her work in New Writing Scotland, This Magazine, Alberta Views, dead (g)end(er), Cordite Poetry Review, ditch, and Glass Buffalo. Follow her on Twitter @Tartaned_Maple.

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