Poems by Rita Furgiuele

Chant d’automne 

This is why we say “Indian summer”: not for the unexpected warmth letting
Shoulders fall
But a day like this:
The rain smoothing crispness off the edge of leaf 

Quiet beds of caramel, copper, amber muffling the roll
Of tires on asphalt as I run past
And the mist silences even smells, like the smoke fire inside Huron Huts can cover gleaming hanging pots in its veil 

This must be the world showing me its tender indifference, still it is sweeter, I know, than Meursault’s salty sea, the Algerian sun
And his gaze on Marie’s mouth when she laughs 

We met in this country of oak and maple, your face back lit by shifting sky
Gaze as calm and full of your knowing me as when your hands travel
The curves around butternut squash, and you say, “this one” 

Identical Twin Old Men Took Turns at Being Alive 

Alfredo would do the shopping for fruit
Preferring to choose the purple Italian plums
One by one
The peaches examined for flesh
Too ready to fall from the stone
His brother Fiore used his days for
Which Alfredo disparaged except for prepping a room
For painting: he would smooth strips of masking tape
Over quarter rounds as though checking for fault lines
They argued about who would prepare the garden for planting Transfer the tomato seeds
To rows of glossy soil,
Their sons’ hockey sticks anchoring leafy stalks
when they grew
Each brother would rise earlier every day
To find the other waiting, coffee held out
And a wink- “what took you so long? I already
Started on the beans.” 

Time Travel 

“It’s for you!” Inked neatly
On a magazine passed casually to me like a cigarette You show me the feature on Basel
(You think I should visit it again)
But I’m watching your hands,
Not labourer’s tools
But pale and precise, vanilla cream
Fingers flying over iPhone maps, zooming
In on my street, padding out in awkward English,
“Take care of you too” 

The clairvoyant in me sees
You neither in Geneva
Or Zurich
Two scenes you spread out for me cautiously
As if sheer details could ground these hypotheses,
As if to slow down the rapid rationales: “I’ll
Learn German
I’ll look after the baby” 

Instead I’m seeing you
Somewhere on my continent
Easily smitten with wide roads
All night coffee shops and large steaks Sweating on too hot summer nights in a pub 

In San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago (my Toronto too obvious and self-serving) I say what a good father you’ll be
A heart beat later, your answer,
“You’re beautiful today”
Quietly suspends us
Defers the either or
What if
If only 

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