Opening Uphttps://i0.wp.com/barrenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/White-flowers.jpg?fit=1920%2C1280&ssl=119201280Jean Van LoonJean Van Loonhttps://i0.wp.com/barrenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/jeanvanloon.jpg?fit=96%2C96&ssl=1
We could form a work-party, you and I,
take a couple of days, once more
shovel winter’s detritus from the dock ––
brown cedar sheddings, broken twigs
the empty bait-pots and beer cans
ice-fishers left behind
the flotsam under the steps
from big-boat wakes.
From the old stone path
we’d sweep the shrivelled blossoms
snowed from black locust trees. We’d scrape
sky-blue curls from the porch’s painted ceiling.
Dispose of the dead –– bloated mink
adrift in the boat slip, maggoted bat
in the old garage, sheer dragonflies
webbed at the edge
of the wash-house window.
Work our bodies till they hurt.
Sore arms, blistered fingers. Purge
what clogs the heart, dulls
eye to colour, tongue to savour.
And if all’s nearly clean
we’ll raise the flag to one more season.
If not, a sign: For Sale.
Remember California ––
how the night air smelled of hyacinth.
Jean Van Loon’s first poetry collection Building on River was published by Cormorant Books in April 2018. Her stories, poems, and reviews have appeared in literary magazines across Canada and in Journey Prize Stories 19. She holds an MFA from the University of British Columbia and attended the 2017 Spring Poetry Colloquium at Sage Hill.