days are long on Mercury

Poem for Rhoneil who didn’t like the Swede

“…and it was that terrible
sense that things would never change
that changed everything, terribly.”
– Sherwin Tjia

1. If not the Swede,
a Swede,
dreaming your name
these thousand years;
a Swede who asked the rain
and the rain said,
“Go ask the moon.”

If not the Swede,
a secret wish
that outshines even the Kootenays
(is it possible?)
a burning, angry wish
to finally be happy;
(and could I have really been wrong
about the Swede?)

If not the Swede
how ‘bout yourself?
Only you can break your heart,
and it’s late, already dark
in the crappy part of town.

If not the Swede,
electric night road,
the long-haul roar
of transport
blowing past
and night
re-taking the silence
(crickets, the whirring
of the universe)

If not the Swede
then not the Swede—
better resigned to Stockholm,
and you to the last thing
on tonight’s dinner plate:
a symbolic course
not meant
for eating

not yet, not now

2. we sing,
not to cry
in mixed company.


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