Shimmer

Who remembers, jingles with the buzz; if you hear

1981, do you see those small tables? jostled round

by young sophisticates, and here, one northern

bush kid, easy tan of metis

(years before capital M and definitions

that don’t matter in the shimmer of the music).

This girl is 16, down in The City to visit

her sister who has broken the cocoon, and laughs

in perm and lipstick, excellent shoes on her

fabulous legs, she knows (she’s at jazz school)

one of the players (he became a teacher) in the band, and says

daringly, he’s a good kisser. The girl sits, drinking pop

wondering at her own array, is it camouflage, or wings?

a lace-panel blouse from le Chateau, beyond

in one moment only, their life. It will take years

before they laugh, striding down Whyte Ave, known

themselves, self-made royalty in thrift store bargains.

 

In 81, we didn’t know that, here too, it mattered to trumpet

all that we were, up front, so loud that nobody

could pull the rug out from under our beauty

from any direction. Now, the music wavers;

on stage, watched by The Scene, I remember how

he didn’t look back at her, and she

had to keep her head up, no quaver

nor shatter.

 

Meh, I say to her memory, tell the truth

he probably kissed like he drummed, too much

flash, not enough rock steady. See her? that’s

a queen stepping past in her excellent shoes.

Every true note remains a shimmer.

 

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