Mount Royal Boulevard, 1966

This poem originally appeared in the journal In Parentheses Vol. 7, Issue 2, Fall 2021.

Mount Royal Boulevard, 1966

I will not take Mount Royal Boulevard.

Not since April third,

the rainy night

at the tight curve

halfway down the road,

when the tires shrieked,

and the maple tree

cracked in half

from the force

of the red Ford Mustang.

The glass on the pavement,

the smoke rising

to meet the clouds in the sky,

the neon-green budding trees

like little flashing signs.

The knot of people gathering,

the ambulance screaming,

the still form lying

on the double yellow lines.

Two silvery-blue

policemen on my front step,

hat holding, me wailing

like the baby sleeping

upstairs. Remembering

the last look, the last hug,

the last kiss, knowing

I had said, “Go,

enjoy the party. Tell everyone

I said hello.”

Wishing I had kept

my mouth shut,

wishing I had begged

him to snub civility

for one more night of early dinner,

late TV, records for hours, diapers

and cans of beer in the trash.

Now the last of those nights has passed.

Now I drive a serpentine

route wherever I go,

because I refuse to take

Mount Royal Boulevard, that road

that made

a widow

out of

me.

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