Poetry

Soldier Boys

ARLEEN PARÉ

From Lake of Two Mountains, published by Brick Books in 2014. Lake of Two Mountains won the 2014 Governor General’s Award for Poetry.  

Bobby grew up into a boy.

Wrong decade. He

left for the War, Second World,

returning years later,

a box-camera snapshot in hand:

foot soldiers, himself and four friends

lined up in front of a broken-down fence.

Boys drowning in greatcoats.

At the cottage Bobby slept in a cot on the screened-in veranda,

half in, half out of the house.

Old army blanket, and all night

the wind off the shore raked his hair.

Mornings, he’d sprawl

on the wharf or sit in a lawn chair,

slathered in baby oil,

                                        remembering what?

His fiancée married while

he was at war. He never did.

Later—the house finally his—he glassed in the porch,

wintered in his red velvet chair,

cradling the snapshot: five soldiers, all boys,

in the palm of his hand

 

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ARLEEN PARÉ

Arleen Paré has published five collections of poetry. She is a winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry. She grew up in Montreal and now lives in Victoria.


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