Grey, in the grey way only Ottawa can be,
Incandescent like the dimmest of lightbulbs,
Fueling for change, but never garnering the courage,
(Yet I, like the trees, tricked out in the latest fall
fashion, myself after an image even greater.)
I am the water,
un-protruding, yet mildly intrusive at times. Ottawa,
turning its collar up to me.
The brilliant color of the trees, a seeming contrast
against the sky.
I wrote pretty once.
Who am I kidding? We both did, with appropriated voices, cultivated,
Were they our own?
You disappeared into a bubble bath, sud by sud,
Until faintly there remained a trace of you on my desk,
Encapsulated in a frame, poised, smiling, winking.
Is that you now?
If I could place you, I’d move the frame closer to my heart.
Hold you tight, endlessly righting all wrongs.
You taught me once.
Despite your endless barrage, and your endless baggage.
But you, like your baggage, have carried on.
And I am, or am I, left here reminded of my own.
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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum
Photo: elephant journal photo archives