The Rusty Toque | Issue 12 | Poetry | June 30, 2017
We rip the scab off at Lucan
bleed north up 4
remember? you remember
the ditches, corn, windrows
picking stones in the same damn fields
year after year.
All the straight lines, grids
and you, all the while,
behind the mask at home
calling for curves.
We turn off the highway
gravel pops in the wheel wells
stop at your old house,
stand on the dirt road,
watch the August storm close--
fields of tassels
bristle against the black horizon.
At the graveyard, where you
necked boys on the bones
we set our lines amid the head stones,
but nothing’s biting.
Hit the road then, plunge deeper
into whatever the hell this is--
a trip home? You’d might as
well piss into the wind. Well ok then.
Cladeboy, Exeter, Vanastra, Clinton
Londesborough, Blyth, Belgrave
full cooler, camera, memory stick
handling me a beer
we’re here, my uncle’s place
just up the road from our old house.
The plan was to sneak
onto the property, take photos of
the hoop barns in the back meadow
where the new owners grew the dope
before they got busted by the cops,
but the gate’s closed, locked,
a truck’s parked ‘round back
someone’s living here.
Fuck it, maybe we’ll try tomorrow
Trespassing is coming home.
At Ripley's Aquarium
There’s a hairline crack in the Great Lakes.
The paddlefish see it, swim by mouths agape.
Water presses against the pane, longs
to sneak across the road, slip into Lake Ontario,
under the nose of the Gardiner--
that eroding hulk of concrete
and rusting rebar patrolling the lakeshore,
holding, for now, the lake out and the city in.
Schools of strollers hunt
in the shadow of the CN Tower:
Britax, Bugaboo, Chicco, and Graco
Peg Perego, Combi, Cybex, and Kelty
swim tight patterns, swarm Ray Bay,
nip the heels of tourists trying
to escape through the gift shop.
Our toddler runs wild
in Rainbow Reef, cranking knobs
on video screens: a cuttlefish lances a shrimp,
again and again, in fast forward,
reverse, slow-mo, the room a blur
of Darwinian wheels spinning in muck.
Plastic kelp fronds wave to the beat
of the atmospheric xylophonics piped
through the dark conveyer-belt corridors.
Selfie sticks and walking sticks
spar for space in Planet Jellies--
a Hollister showroom of club colours;
neon luminaires transform tentacles
into undulating hits of ecstasy.
Through the window,
I see starving gannets begin to circle.
More seabirds appear on the horizon,
flocks of boobies, pelicans and terns
arriving hourly from the coast,
their bills sharpened by the winds.
They are hungry, smell salt water,
sense food moving somewhere beneath
Ripley’s dome. They dive
wave after wave, descend,
beaks cracking the building’s
skull like hammer drills.
Inside we imagine hail, look
up in concert at the ceiling.
Children stop fondling
the horseshoe crabs,
water drips unnoticed
from their fingers,
the tanks of glass
start to sweat.
dad bod silver-back
boys’ night HRT
loud mouth soup
dad bod bitch tits
milfs soccer moms
with silver fox
standing desk, orthotics
dad bod cuts carbs
secretly scarfs carbonara
Raw Food, Paleo
sauna sweats Scotch
barks at boyfriends
blubbers at weddings
search history delete
dad bod social smokes
buries dad then mom
dad bod twilights
dad bod is a boy
on a swing
screen door ajar
smells Pine-sol, hears
a lawnmower sputter
legs are tan, hair shines
pumping for the sun
he’ll go all the way round
TOM CULL grew up in Huron County and now resides in London, Ontario, where he teaches creative writing and serves as the city’s current Poet Laureate. Tom’s work has appeared in The New Quarterly, The Word Hoard and been anthologized in Translating Horses (Baseline Press), 150 Stories (Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario), and a forthcoming collection dedicated to water protection and social justice (MSU Press). His chapbook, What the Badger Said was published in 2013 by Baseline Press, and his first book of poems, Bad Animals will be published by Insomniac Press in Spring of 2018. Since 2012, Tom has been the director of Thames River Rally, a grassroots environmental group that he co-founded with his partner Miriam Love, and their son, Emmett.