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Tiny Golden Ovals Massed Wet and Gleaming

by sue chenette

where I turn to walk up Jane Street

the day damp wind and scudding

thought replaying last evening’s phone call

How are you tonight, Mom?

Well, I’m very 96-ish.

Wants to know if I remember the time we saw the bobcat.

By the bird feeder. At Bill and Nancy’s.

My brother walking to the window, early morning,

and there it lay, in his telling,

tawny and muscled in the seed-pocked snow.

But we weren’t there. Oh, she said when I reminded her. No –

But I can see it so clearly. I get things

mixed up sometimes.

the leaves, from an ash tree – as if someone

draped that green car in gold, roof, windshield, hood

Do you still have your poetry workshop?

With your four women friends? I remember you

walking out the door to go to that, and you could walk,

because it was close enough. And I remember

you going out the door with your umbrella, in the rain.

Did she mix me up – it’s not close, I drive –

maybe made me Jo, in Little Women? I’d like that.

Oh, maybe – giggling – I watch a lot of old movies.

Her laugh is musical, and spills

so readily these days.

... draped the green car in golden cloth, falling

to asphalt in thick folds

You know – her zooming thought –

Dorota has a new dog. And there’s that song, Daisy, Daisy.

Oh, Daisy – Liz’s new dog.

Oh yes, that’s right, Liz’s dog. So I was trying to write a poem,

Daisy, Daisy. Because then you could use that song.

But I haven’t thought of it yet.

Her world

merging, realm of metamorphoses —

...wet leaves’ golden silken gleam – bright

as spun straw

childhood’s bedtime tale

who’s to say, then,

that she hasn’t seen the bobcat, or known a truth

about my walking in the rain, or that two dogs are not

in some way one dog, the shaggy companionable

idea of dog, ghosting through the world?


Sue Chenette is a poet, editor, and classically trained pianist who grew up in northern Wisconsin and has made her home in Toronto since 1972. She is the author of three chapbooks and four full-length collections. Her most recent books are Clavier, Paris, Alyssum (Aeolus House, 2020), and the documentary poem What We Said (Motes Books, 2019), based on her time in Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty.


Image by Bree Anne
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