A poem for Tuesday

It occurred to me today that I'm coming up on my ten year emigration anniversary. And I remember arriving in Toronto and the taxi-ride from the airport, the driver saying he thought Spadina was the most beautiful street in the city and me knowing - even then - that he was cracked, heading to an apartment in Little Italy.

It was the summer of the big blackout. The summer of SARS. Biblical times, my arrival.

And we walked the city looking for a place. Figuring it all out. I strained for a sense of the town and found only fragmented neighbourhoods, all seeming so arbitrary. Until we walked into Glenn Gould's building.

I don't mind coming up on ten years at all, but I dread the year (I haven't done the math yet) when I'll say I've lived longer in Canada than in Ireland. I dread feeling less Irish over time, like sand in an hourglass, draining the top half empty.

When I flew back from Calgary, I got a towncar from the airport. The driver said he liked my accent. Never lose it, he said. I could have cried. It already shifts like sands.

This is by Alice Lyons.

Reverse Emigration
When I boarded the plane, everyone looked like Uncle Tom
ruddy, some were empurpled
gray hair or auburn in terrier thatches
pale blue of eye
a smidgen of resignation:
the tribe.
I thought We are driving to the interior
I thought holy god
the airline upholstery
was Yeats, Kavanagh and Heaney
handwriting. I thought
holy shit, this is the maw.
The maw.
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