Anita Lahey: A Poem
TIME AND PLACE
Pause the player during the opening
credits, 1999, The Sopranos, season one:
and the width of a whole cushion
(the space between you on the couch)
dissolves. Katrina. It means more
than hurricane. Arenas and murder
and thirsting masses on an off-ramp,
waiting for a fucking bus…
There was this guy
my friend called Hector.
We were 19, first year. His real name
was Dave or Joe or Phil—
but Hector stuck, nobody had to ask,
it pinned us like a tail
to that galaxy, the perfect
fit. When we gather and try
the shorthand being passed around
on the tray with all the beautiful,
a couple somewhere starts
holding hands. One more child
turns c-a-t into “cat.” The grownups in the room
lay down their shields. At the party
in Ottawa, we melt the sugar into the hot
whiskey. Raise a little How’d
we wind up here? It’s never why
we stayed. It’s all so obvious
and boring. Were we brave? Look,
just look what’s happened since.
from Spinning Side Kick (Véhicule Press, 2011). Used by permission.
Anita Lahey writes poems, articles, essays, reviews and blog posts from her home in Toronto. She has also lived in Ottawa, Montreal and Fredericton, and spends time in Cape Breton every summer. Her latest collections are Spinning Side Kick (poems, 2011, Vehicule Press) and The Mystery Shopping Cart: Essays on Poetry and Culture (2013, Palimpsest Press). She attempts to read between the lines in her blog entries at "Henrietta & Me: People (and other wonders) found in books" (anitalahey.wordpress.com). Read my conversation with Anita here.