river passes so quietly
fall into it if you were blind or daydreaming
path so deeply scored,
unimpeded by rock or shoal
fails to sing
splash but only proceeds
the one clear direction, south I guess,
it may at times diverge
the bending valleys pull it onward
canyons and underneath bridges
a bright bush adorns a gravelly edge
once sat on, thinking about something
I do in my mother’s guest room’s
honeymoon bedroom suite, thick maple
dressing table with photos propped
a beige linen runner.
brushes and combs.
mirror with a long handle.
mother and I watch TV,
our small supper.
so smart, dear,” she says,
should be on Jeopardy.”
winning contestant loses all her prize money
a wrong answer but clearly
learned the protocol:
crying or whining!
gloating either, when it’s the other guy
there with nothing all of a sudden.
new categories are revealed with a flourish.
top up our glasses with Mom’s home-made Cabernet Sauvignon.
three contestants look calm behind their pulpits.
chamber concert is titled Waning Crescent
the type of moon it is this night. Among
“The Hunt” from the Haydn Quartets
be performed at the Lutheran Church with
austere altar & fine acoustics. The
oboist is from Portugal.
was beautiful but
around in the pitch dark afterwards
old and diminished in capacities,
and lonely in my mother’s car
to read the street signs, pretending
know where I’m going, the guy behind me
with high-beams on
where big dim houses twinkle on a far hillside
beyond my ken, I don’t know this place very well
and I got turned around exiting the Lutheran Church
lot where the outside lights weren’t working and
fellow with a flashlight was motioning this way, this way
nearing the end of hunting season.
have been through the car-wash & sedans
more customers going to Seniors Day at the pharmacy
camouflage-clad gun customers
the parking lot in their rear-view mirror
the pharmacy, swift and busy dispensing of tablets and instructions
holding a form & when my name is called, I rise with alacrity,
can hear alright, I can get out of here,
an errand for my mother, not me, not yet
concert-master announced that Mozart’s “The Hunt”
really about a hunt. It was just a name
up with because of the prominence of horns.
not alone though I’m alone here.
worry about my mother, who’s 90 and having trouble.
A tree seems to agree with me
I think one of us should move up here
a while. I think of all those I know
with faraway mothers,
in South Africa, several in England.
that far but by now, my carry-on
bulging and heavy, zipped up, the handle extended.
huntress kneels in the night sky
an arrow from her quiver. A bear is
the Arrivals entrance at the airport, looking like a man
a bear suit, which is what a bear is
the occlusion of the waning crescent—
so modestly, so hilariously hidden
present in the painted fur and long claws
our disguises. The shuttle arrives at
still out, the other passengers
shapes looking out the window
nothing, the odd building with lights on,
just darkness going by, already gone.
Sharon Thesen is a B.C.-based poet, editor, and critic. Recently, she has published work in Arc/Cordite
Poetry Magazine, Best Canadian Poetry 2014, Dispatches from the
Poetry Wars (online), and Brick Magazine. Her 8 books/chapbooks include Oyama Pink Shale,
The Good Bacteria, and A Pair of Scissors. She is Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing at UBC’s Okanagan Campus, where she taught poetry and creative nonfiction and
co-edited, with Nancy Holmes, Lake: A Journal of Arts and Environment. She has edited two editions of The New Long Poem Anthology, two editions of Charles Olson’s correspondence with book designer Frances Boldereff, and a GG-award-winning selected poems of
Phyllis Webb, The Vision Tree.
tbe Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan