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blog, place, poem April 2009

April 10, 2009

Welcome to the first edition of 11th ave, a monthly blogzine of stuff I like.

Since this first edition comes during Poetry Month, I’ll share a poem I wrote about 11th ave, which is not only the name of this blog, but a real place.

It’s where I spent my summers as a kid, like my mother before me. Geographically, it’s in the tiny beach community of Sandy Hook, Manitoba with 11th ave ending in a log-pole pier that runs into the southwest wake of Lake Winnipeg. Our cabin, at the other end of 11th, started out as a chicken coop that my grandfather dragged onto the property in the 1950s and it got only a little more souped up.

It’s the day trip I take as often as possible when making the Winnipeg pilgrimage from Montreal, but mostly, it’s the home of my mind’s eye and the inspiration for this poem, which I wrote after learning that my mother and father spent their honeymoon there, dropped off by her grandparents and picked up a couple of days later because they were carless.

I know I lost most of you after daring to use the word poetry, but if you’re still here and if this just fills you with lust for more poetry, check out Random House’s Poem a Day feature this month.

Elemental

Throw my ashes
off the pier
at the end of 11th Avenue
over the highway and
down the road from
where my parents
in the creaking honeymoon bed
of the old family cabin
rubbed and rubbed
against their fates
until a spark
flew up and out
the window, igniting
the cigarette
my grandmother
had been trying to light,
standing under their bedroom window
growing cold
as she waited
for this sign, watching
the lake waters rise
up the road,
up the steps,
up her bare leg
until that first drag,
her first breath of me
of a chain of smoke rings
that held, while she
tapped ash, tapped me
into the flood tide
now rushing back
to the shore
to the pier
where the rest
of my ashes are now
falling
home.

April 2005
— Denise Duguay

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One comment

  1. Fantastic poem DD. I loved it. We have to drive up there again when you’re here. Too much Easter celebration yesterday my head is a blur but I really thought the poem was very strong.



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