I’m looking at a wall full of hats,
a little white one you wore when you were nine,
squinting into the sun, holding your black ballet bag
with Barbie in the corner in one uncertain hand.
These are lines surfacing from your first poem,
something in grade eight about evergreen trees,
something about the Royal Winter Fair
smelly, noisy, crowded,
images sticking out like the long faces of cattle.
You press the bottom of a pick-up stick to make a yellow one
stand up and beg for more attention.
You press a red stick and watch it howl.
You press a green one and it tastes like a mint.
At nineteen, you couldn’t find solitude,
only knew that one was half of two,
incomplete crescent of the moon leaving
slivers in bare feet, wounding.
Who is this you to whom I have been writing for twenty years,
lying down in a hammock,
face down on a dock, oblivious,
sitting quietly in an old-fashioned lawn chair,
the wooden kind you see in paintings?