After Roddy Lumsden.

Christmas, 2009 / No. 23

I’ve handled myself on trains, been handled, roughhoused

by a housewife for being rough

and ready in the cabin of a ship and never thinking,

“Oh to love,” but hoping I’d finish,

finish before it stopped. And jerked

from our seats I’m sure I wasn’t the first

to smell my hands, below, to taste what’d come

of three days or five days strange, country

unlike my own getting itself up inside my T-shirt, linted

nipples and armpits, oh.

Spent my nights with a British boy (who hasn’t?) who rolled

his shirt sleeves, buttoned down at night, and read T. S. fucking Eliot.

Who pawned a gun for a silverish ring, made me smell

like tobacco, and in the quiet, green-fingered morning

made me miss him like nobody’s business.

I’ve been called a handful, hard to live with, I’d make a shoddy

wife. Here in Canada graffiti rollers itself across pocked concrete

and a dozen “ROCK ’N’ ROLL”s or “I LOVED DONNA”s. There are local sayings

our foreign boys are still amusing themselves with, another wind-chill lark

and sometimes, “Life is great, isn’t it darling? ”