My Scarborough

My Scarborough

I grew up in a square.

Two by two, block by block,

We locked doors because we were scared.

We watched the news,

And felt it true that Scarborough was obscene,

I didn’t learn to bus ‘til I was fourteen.

 

Yes, this happened.

 

One morning I kicked stones to high school,

Watched their lithic confluence ripple a pool

Of blood soaking the concrete out in front.

I followed the hollowing trail inside,

Then I did not cross as tinny voices told us to

Remember to buy tickets to the semi-formal!

Three days later, the table freshly bleached,

I ate fries alongside a murdered boy’s memory.

 

But the truth . . .

 

Scarborough was a beautiful home,

The greenest part of Toronto,

Where every morning of my youngest years,

In the tall-grass field I strode,

I met an old man.

He moved as fast as habit would allow,

Stopping occasionally to wave at me, and do Tai Chi.

 

Every morning.

 

He was more peaceful than any news,

Truer than any rumor led me to believe,

More Scarborough to me than the one I’d been taught:

I still haven’t forgotten that before crossing the street,

I should look both ways and behind me,

In case somebody is going to push.

 

My Scarborough a kind old man—

         yes, with a history, yes, with an avid, acrid and acrimonious potential, but

         reverential and placid instead, kind and smiling

Just an old man filing, waving to me, and doing Tai Chi.