Monday, November 5, 2012

Elisabeth Harvor's quotable


What can be retrieved of what’s
lost is this morning’s cool question

as I hurry past Room 19 to see a nurse
part the sky, then turn to untie

the flaps of a hospital gown
exposing skin too old to wince

at the held glint of a needle,
the bed with its crank

to raise a headache up,
to lower a headache down

while in Room 29 the eyes
recall happier turns in the heart’s

mobile weather, in memory’s
bold cargo: leg paint and cigarettes

to ignite the whirl
of dancing the night away

the nights a destroyer
would dock in the harbour,

music floating out over the long shine
of that bay of bays, the Bay of Fundy,

while a long row of pale legs begins stepping
backwards, then in long unison surges

forward to the crash of movie surf,
crash of cymbals, each knee

raised and tipped back, each knee
what’s pulled back for each archer’s arrow

to salute the night’s higher lights,
to aim a kick at tomorrow,

synchronized legs haloed by tilted
feathers, the swivel of lipstick, of hips,

of light on the rim of a glass of stale
Ginger ale while today’s ten o’clock sun

squints under clouds floating
low over a morning whose air,

bright with a chill in it,
carries the pert scent of snow.

From Elisabeth Harvor’s An Open Door in the Landscape
Palimpsest Press 2010
Trade paperback
ISBN 978-1-926794-01-3