The Veranda by Jane Urquhart

urquhart veranda

urquhart veranda
Kick’s Hotel, Niagara Falls, 1890s, with a horse-drawn streetcar in front. Photo courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library


hair piled high
afternoons on
the wooden verandah
of Kick’s Hotel

‡‡‡‡‡‡‡where her mother
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡dressed in black
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡moves like a cloud
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡behind the soft screen door

‡‡‡‡‡‡‡tiny wreaths
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡from light brown hair

grandmother is passing the time
around like cupcakes at nineteen

rhythms of porch swings
father and brother recently dead
locks of their hair
braided in
mourner’s jewellry

summer afternoon

several young men are
tipping their hats to grandmother

‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡sooner or later
grandfather will pass

‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡he is the icing
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡he is the season

he will die too
of course

men always do


Source: Urquhart, Jane. False Shuffles. Victoria: Press Porcépic, 1982. Section entitled The Undertaker’s Bride. 

Click to see more of Urquhart’s The Undertaker’s Bride poems 

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