After tea


What a bitter day is ending

And hardly to be borne

The hours paved with nettles

Though I knew not what for

 

For you no longer want me, friend

This I now plainly see

Departing in your glass caravan

That you once had of me

 

How hard and strange it would seem

Had we that golden bowl of trust

Piled with fruits of the first water

Budded and grown between us

 

But I confess that this we never had

And with sunset, I begin to see

That I had tired of your intemperance

Before you tired of me

The things we half forget


Untitled

For all the days we left behind, which somehow turned to years

Before we knew autumn’s second meaning

Or saw pages thin to sheer

We will have other summers, yet more like other lives

Child-selves running through pictures

Of lost-remembered ties

~

Image source

Granville Island Winter Ale


The bar is all cement floors, its patio wood-paneled. But they are inside at the moment, and this place with its faux-American name is playing swing music, or music that you can swing to, she does not know the difference.

He is French, slim like her, and the crown of his head but an inch or two above her own, always in chinos and hand-stitched shoes. She has never properly danced with someone before. But old books had her convinced that this must be fun; when he asks her she leaps at the chance, and she is not disappointed.

She finds that she can follow him and he has no compunctions about how close they should be.

At the table, earlier, newly-minted friends testing each other’s waters over chocolate-coloured pints, someone had asked her if she was in love with her absent boyfriend. Several faces turned to look at her and they were intimate, serious; they had dredged up school scandals and dead parents, now it was her turn to share. She certainly loved her boyfriend, but with the intensity behind that question, the turn of the voice on in and the sense of being measured for all time, how could she know for sure at 22 years of age? How could she match the nakedness of that question? Why were they asking her such a thing?

She was nonplussed, embarrassed, tipsy. She didn’t have any prepared lies. Her skin prickled under all the stares and she answered with what first came to mind.

It is only as she is trying her first steps of swing dancing with her classmate, movement becoming delight becoming laughter, that she realizes honesty can amount to disloyalty.

And it is much, much later before she realizes that her boyfriend, who proves indifferent to her love of dancing, is the sort who does not like his girlfriend to dance with anyone else, even if he has no intention of dancing with her.

High School Boys and the Battle of Brick’s Hill


The road was free of cars at 3:30pm and only a distant, lonely train on its elevated track punctuated the quiet of the suburb. They were marching up an incline past two houses which had been recently dismantled. So there were piles of yellow brick across the street, while on their side the sidewalk was bordered by a stretch of green, the grass threaded by a bike path which looked like it had gotten lost on the way to somewhere.

Lana: overly casual, “It’s crazy that its taken me this many years to realize that the little pockets in push up bras are the perfect spot to keep that tampon that I’m going to need around x o’clock.”

Rob: “The hell, Lana?”

Lana: “What?” innocently, as if she hadn’t planned that little speech.

Yves: “Ahaha-ha,” he laughed uneasily, “you know, guys -”

Kou: “Of course its a push-up,” he muttered acerbically.

Lana: “Hey!” Rounding on Kou. This is not where she thought her tidbit of wisdom was going. “Everyone wears push-ups! How else do you think we’re supposed to approach the ridiculously high standards set in people’s minds by billboards like-”

Rob: “For King Kai’s sake, shut up Lana.”

Lana: “-that one?!?!” she cried, pointing wildly.

Kou: to Rob, “Nice one.”

Lana: “Seriously?”

Yves: already too carried away to remember that he was trying to change the subject a moment ago, “Oh man, remember when Goku and Piccolo had to get their licenses?”

Kou: “Timeless…”

Lana: a loud harrumph.

They were almost at the top of the hill when,

Rob: “So I count ahead another thirty days or whatever so I know when to avoid you next, huh?”

Lana: “What do you – WTF ROB, I AM NOT EVEN ON MY PERIOD RIGHT NOW!”

Thus began the battle of Brick’s Hill.

At the Wayside


I walked to where the river ran

On those spring days in ages past

When the oak trees were but saplings

And below, this road was but a path

Winding to the place where we

Would by chance so often meet

Beside the river, upon the hill

Where all was limned in peace.

We two wanderers, Niphophar,

Laid down fare, laid down arms

Breaking fast as if long years

Had left us as companions are

Continue reading “At the Wayside”

That Will Never Be


I long for a meeting that may never be

I long for a parting that will never pass

And in this restless world a-gleaming

It is my guide, my hope, my cast

Of gossamer lines to draw from seas

What dwells ever in the dregs of sleep

In looks and laughs, known yet unseen

Their dearness fraught impossibly

By moments that may never be

So flatter my wish, you who read,

For a soul that might my thoughts reveal

In perfect warmth and sympathy

Drawing near despite a steadfast reel

And walking in utter ease with me

Ours a winding path, yet steps agree

Made kindred as when strangers we

Each conjured a figment’s company

Longing for a meeting that will never be

 

© 2012 Elizabeth Cook