H A R R Y  G R I S W O L D: Poet, Photographer, and Author of Two Poetry Books

Far From Canada Near Sunset

I’m not in a Vancouver restaurant
out of the rain, nor in Ottawa
where tulips stand along the Rideau.
I’m not in Maniwaki Quebec
at Hubert’s general store
with winter parkas on sale
down the aisle from bass lures
and iron plates. I haven’t gone
to Tijuana, across the other line,
where scraggly kids and women
wait with shell bracelets
for a gringo to offer a dollar.
Tonight, rash men will play
a chancy game of Red Rover
Come Over against a team wearing
advantage goggles and guns.
I wonder about the land
of immigrants I live in
where questions linger.
Were NY hospitals for whites
slow to take in Billie Holiday
in her last desperate hours?
Did borders exist, defended heavily,
that even Lady Day couldn’t get over?
I sit in an empty park, the sun falling
behind old eucalyptus trees, the moon
waiting in the east to dominate
the sky. I look around and see
I’m right in the middle of things.

—From Camera Obscura, Wordcraft of Oregon (2007)

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