some questions we know are never answered,
they stay all their lives in the poor neighborhoods,
but we keep asking them, like songs we sing.
we cannot stop the full-throated chorus. every new day
the same questions continually cross the turquoise surface.
they travel, they spend time, they are placed on the table
like girls doing impersonations for the guests—
like flowing water with nowhere to go but round again,
the same tiled pool and stone steps, glinting
like snow-drops, undulating as the water circles—
drives the questions to school, sends them to pedagogy,
invites them in from the diaspora
looks on them as refugees.
some questions are really longing for something.
but then they flinch, they lose inspiration,
they become the stuff of every day, the same
blank poolside, cranberry red
lounge chairs and glossy sunshine, the same
drumming against the concrete walls,
the same shoes and tagines, pots and metal lanterns,
the same red shirts and green stars and sunglasses.
they disappear for hours.
we are asking them, like songs we intone, chansons,
about caravans of camels in the orange desert,
about red pointed shoes and green painted fingers.
some questions just pray for two thousand years.
every day, the coloured glass lanterns sparkle,
and the music swims and shouts in the light blue air—
music about life as a never-ending calibration.
music about flowing waters with nowhere to go.
Kristjana Gunnars is a painter and writer, author of several books of poetry, short fiction and anti-fiction. She is Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing and English at the University of Alberta, and now works out of her studio in B.C. This poem comes from a work in progress titled "Snake Charmers." Her web site connection is: kristjanagunnars.com.
the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan