We pedal our three-wheelers
in concentric circles
on home lawns
and parents applaud.
We grow strong calves,
balance and speed,
and the sweet-talk
of wind in our ears
silences parents’ warnings.
We glory on racing bikes,
plot trajectories to bliss.
We push away from boring bike lanes
to new grounds, thinking
we climb the untamed.
We grow up, claim our acre of land,
grow roots, acquire four-wheel vehicles.
The children get a dog, and we,
memberships, tenures and mortgages.
We spin on stationary bikes
until we slow old, mosey on
into retirement on a tandem bike
that we will trade for second-hand tricycles.
Once again, we ride in circles.
Grandchildren slalom on the paved alleys
of our old folk residence.
They cheer us on until the sun sets
and it is time to go home.
In twin mirrors
framed by artificial light
in our bathroom
you and I glimpse
the unfamiliar faces
only your gaze on me
Outside, winter scours our trees
down to charcoal skeletons.
The tarnished sky filters the sun
down to a feeble yellow orb.
We’ve slowed our pace
withering like mounds of leaves
battered down by rain and sleet.
Our twilight plunges toward night.
We shiver into sweaters
huddle nearer the hearth
burning our summer memories
along birch logs that spit stars.
Our eyes peer through glasses
that fail to erase the sepia tone
our yellowing corneas foist
on our scenery. And shadows
spill the secrets of bone.
In mirrors, with finger tips
we verify what our eyes fear,
the nakedness of your skull, mine,
barely concealed by discoloured skin.
We wish for kinder lights,
seeing less, a last minute blessing.
One buoyant morning
I unfurled my wrinkled wings
to the kiss of the wind
and left my husband.
Before that, atop the washing machine
in the mudroom, I left a note
words to close doors
not leave them ajar.
Earlier that day, my husband
slammed the front door, rushed
to work. I stayed home, sick.
He said I was not.
I was, enough to pack my full half
into a moving van.
The night before, I read
about tea clippers coursing waves.
They triggered a curious hunger
that gnawed my sleep away, biting
awake memories I had disarmed
Before I went to bed
in the mirror, on my face
I noticed a looser net of wrinkles.
My sore calves screamed from tip-toeing
around his anger that trip-wired
the house I stopped thinking of as home.
Weeks earlier, I had scoured shops for outdated
ocean-hued pressed eye-powders
sand colored foundation
to drown the yellow purple shame
around my eyes.
For months, my fashion statement
had been all-season long sleeves
and no swimsuits. I was painfully
shy, he said at pool parties.
there had been something
I can’t quite remember
so evanescent it was.
Marie-Andree Auclair’s poems have appeared in a variety of print and online publications the United States, Canada and in the United Kingdom. Her chapbook, Contrails was released by In/Words Magazine and Press/Ottawa. She lives in Canada.