Ghazal to John, From Exile
Spring snow never hurts us, but still it’s a dangerous thing.
It stays our lives and shrinks our days, like any dangerous thing.
I loved you because you had my father’s name and shale-
blue eyes flecked with green: serpentine, dangerous things.
Early April, North Atlantic wind: half-thawed mud and ice.
For a diver, to come to the surface too fast is a dangerous thing.
The night I crossed the border, maybe it was forever. The guards
dumped my shoes in a heap on the ground. Boots are dangerous things.
We were 22 and sat in the backs of movie theaters, touched
thighs and arms, almost kissed. Don’t speak: too dangerous a thing.
My passport’s just expired, time-stained paper for a lukewarm fire.
Not all the flock arrives: migration’s an unkempt, dangerous thing.
We both have daughters now, but I rarely see mine. She lives south
a thousand miles. Abstract and distant, I’m not a dangerous thing.
These days, spring takes longer and longer to shuffle and shake upright.
To name something too soon is a doomed and dangerous thing.
I go by Oka now. On Granville Island, I married him, not you.
Dozens of Canadian strangers cheered. Still—an imperfect, dangerous thing.