Two poems from the Carole Langille workshop

The foetus’ first scan
The baby was not a boy

not a possible boy
not a new boy
not a boy attached
a boy demanding

a boy I’d lost and couldn’t find again

a boy who started smoking on the tennis courts
in front of me
but he hadn’t told me

a boy who hung out with the rich kids
whose parents didn’t care what they smoked and did
late on Saturday nights

a boy who took his mother’s car at 14
and drove me round at night
to show me how he’d
taught himself to drive

a boy sucked into the army
who came back carrying a whip and a gun
who’d lost his trust
lost his self
lost his boyhood

too many motherless boys
too many mothers who failed their boys
I couldn’t be that mother

My Father
My father
in his extreme old age
in the sun of the enclosed veranda
with a cup of coffee in one hand
and a magnifying glass in the other

is torturing a Jehovah’s Witness

Bored and alone
he let him in one day
he opened the big iron gate of the driveway
to this stranger
and seeing the relief in his eyes
he let him in

Now it’s a ritual
he lets him in once a week
the iron gate creeks and the coffee is ready

The Witness arrives on Mondays
with books and pamphlets and bible
and he and my father
discuss all my father’s questions on last week’s reading

The Witness believes he has a convert
almost within his grasp
he doesn’t know my father
has spent a lifetime
honing his skills
in fine-tuned

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