vodka and orange trees

for CBC radio, edmonton poetry festival promo, sept. 2006

she was looking
she was wondering
she was trying to remember
that burnt coffee cinnamon day at the muttart

when the magpie
when the bleeding sunrise
when the orange tree blended into her blue reflection
in the glass pyramids
just so
just so
the bruised light hit the glass just so …

and the orange tree
in the muttart
became her mother’s face in the morning
her mother’s face in the orange kitchen
in the harsh light of another burnt coffee, cinnamon
and orange tree day

she was looking
she was longing
she was emptying her pockets
of the salt
of the moss
of the dark, dank memory of that night
that night at the backroom bar
when a drunken boy
freckled and staggering
three sheets this side of passing out
spilled her drink, called her a cheetah
and demanded she take him home.

she was angry
oh, she was livid
and then she was laughing
because she realized he meant to say cougar — not cheetah, cougar!
and the beautiful drunken boy
and the beautiful orange tree
and the beautiful glass pyramids
seemed suddenly
relentlessly
joyously
p e r f e c t
in that drunken
vodka and orange tree
moment

and everything she needed to remember
about the magpie
about the bleeding sunrise
about the orange kitchen hangovers
and her mother’s salty, mossy,
burnt coffee mornings
was contained in the reflection
of her orange cheetah face
in the smoky glass pyramids

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