An excerpt from

The Scarborough
by Michael Lista


You will not find me among the women of the earth,
Their hair wound up in buns upon their heads,
And goosebumped legs bridged above the bath––

I am not with them. But let it not be said
That an Orpheus doesn't sound them
That behind me suddenly he isn't

Eurydice, his the face to which I may not
Turn and look, or else
As prayers of rescue rise to no messiah.

Decades later and a block away
The Alzheimer takes off her glasses and her coat
And half-naked amid the snow she lays

In the cedar-ribbed hull of a boat
On neighbourless Lake Gibson, June, as five
Stone blocks of thought leopard the lakebed.

And all alone tonight I'll drive
These empty streets
And for the first time in forever feel alive,

Feel the secular roar of the Gardiner,
And smile at how in the land of the nightmask
Mascara is a kind of queenmaker.

I leave the zoo with the moon on the park,
The wolves asleep, the lions going down
(even the sun leaves Scarborough before it's dark)

And the lot of us descend to the Bluffs,
The keloid scar where a wound has frescoed
Over the vanishing land’s gag order to the south.

A figure in the varves emerges like Francesca
From Rodin's Gates of Hell. We discandy from the stone,
Paolo and me, split a sweating Fresca

And walk the eyeless avenues alone.