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Book Review for How the Light is Spent:

Subterranean Blue Poetry

Volume I Issue IV




red sweater

I don my red shoes

just because they're sensible

doesn't mean they have to be boring

and I cross 97th Street

where I live

where they put old people like me

too poor to pay for better

I cross 97th Street

and head for the A&N

that's Army and Navy to you

my daughter

from far away in Toronto land

out of guilt or remorse for

some ugly thing said

in some telephone conversation

sent me fifty dollars

and I've had my eye on a new toaster

nothing like toast and jam

of a cold winter afternoon

and winter's coming sure as death

so I whoosh through those doors

no one holds a door for you these days

the moment they open

go down in the basement where the bargains are

damn these old knees

and I find a Sunbeam

now there's a make

you don't see anymore

probably swallowed up

by some giant company

and all the parts made in Japan

carry my prize up the arthritic ascend

that's when I spy them

on a homely display table

cashmere sweaters

soft as those blankets Tat and I tumbled into

that long ago sunny summer day

when he promised he would always love me

and I believed it and he did too

only we didn't know the war

would kill the bridegroom

and I'd singly raise a single daughter

next door to shame, my only neighbor

I draw my liver-spotted hand through soft woolens

like a lover along the face of the beloved

set that toaster down for a spell

look at the knit

very fine

check the seams

I've been taken before

where it's made

good old England

where Tat lies or what's left of him

rub the sweater against my face

not too near my lipstick

yes, I still wear it

I'm not quite dead

and I think the bright shades go best

now that my hair's white

glance at the price

and all the colours

butter cream yellow

ripe plum, deep sea navy

tea rose, caramel candy

then I spy it

red delicious candy apple

my favourite colour

like my shoes

last one left

hold my breath

look at the size

small

like me

I just leave that toaster sitting there

this autumn afternoon

I'll sit down to tea and CBC

in my favourite chair near the window

in my old apartment

look out at the rummies and druggies

try to feel safe

think I'll leave these red shoes on

touch up my lipstick

put my feet up on the furniture

maybe pour a little of that last bit of sherry

who needs toast

when you've got a bright red sweater




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