My Winter on Ewan Avenue

by Alan Hill, , Poet Laureate, City of New Westminster, BC

Artwork: ‘Transcendence’ by Janet Kvammen

Artwork: ‘Transcendence’ by Janet Kvammen

I am just above the rivers edge
in Queensborough, custodian of the alluvial
village built on water
on the best farmland there has ever been
under a street built for a tram that isn’t there
to connect across a bridge, where no passengers go.

An avenue with no big trees

painful to look at in its promise of future, community
in its lack of yearling leaves

Its eight months since my dad died

I am here now on cheap land, place of immigrants
in financial, cultural exile, willed or unwilling isolation

A wall of box stores wink
from beyond the open surgery of highway, the
wedged wide throat of traffic, that
swallows the invisible, all conversation, history

I ask directions
from a calm, clear senior in a battered suit
complete in his perfect sudoku of immaculate turban
wrapped to pin the soil still, add a purpose to the air

which he tells me is in Wood Street
past family homes, rented basements, Minivans

at the Temple, where there is a meal

where there are white tipped domes
under the approach to the Queensborough Bridge

where trucks take punches
leave the ground as they gather up speed
throw themselves, death defying, toward the City.