Published March 9, 2016

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Poetry by Rebecca Maria Rose Gismondi

Georgian Bay
give me your mouth
your brea(d)th - a farewell letter to Toronto

Georgian Bay

we ran out of gas as we pulled
into the marina
and I thought
“how lucky it was
we weren’t stuck at sea”
it mimicked the moment
you called and said
“I didn’t feel how
I was supposed to.”

the dog was stepping on my toes
on board
the bare-chested captain
bounced me out of my seat
going parallel along the waves
the salt air kept catching
in my throat
it felt like your hand
was still clasped around it

I am at ease knowing
that sardines don’t swim
in these waters
I wonder if your fish pillow
swims sentinel –
no school surrounding –
watches you scroll past
pictures of my naked figure
with newly acquired tan lines

I am shallow water:
feel comforted knowing
you can wade in up to your knees
and not get in
too deep.

give me your mouth

I once knew a girl who dragged cheese graters across her ribs
just to hear them clatter against her skin
she would repeat on end:
if you hold your hand out the window long enough,
something might rip it out of its socket

when she was young she would poke the pin of a poppy under her palm on the 11th
and jump from one barrel of hay – she flew for three summers;
someone came one night last month and clad her in stone
her face was pressed in a pillow and she didn’t scream.

she pulled her nail back farther than it was meant to
she was told she’d see a map of her thoughts underneath
she just saw the marsh where the grass used to brush her
-- the pussywillows

if you push a button she will slide down a conveyor
right in front of you
you can take her clothes off with your teeth
put your ear near her mouth to feel –

a zoetrope of faces, bodies
if you press hard enough you might see
her blood line pulsing
if you find it, track its beat

your brea(d)th – a farewell letter to Toronto

I think you would look brighter with a fresh coat of paint –
a pale blue would suit
your face looks red,
like someone described to you
how you looked in your skimpiest underwear,
like he used to say how much he loved
pushing down on your hips,
melting you into your aqua sheets

the cherry blossoms look promising this time of year
I feel a longing to chop them down
and press them into all the books I own
I promise you that I will comb my hair 100 times in return
I will iron out the stretch marks on my skin –
I won’t pull at it, I promise!
stay vibrant

in the middle of the night,
while I am surrounded by strangers,
home will call and exclaim:
I made fresh scones
and the smell followed me all the way to the top of the tower!
I finally took two steps
towards the German shepherd
that terrorizes me on the way
to Christie Pits!
he told me my eyes were like
the blue of his favourite childhood jean jacket –
he told me he felt like home.

my two brothers might have long, swaying limbs when I touch down
mom’s arms might wrap three times around me
she will say,
“I love your peonies growing the length of your spine”
and water them as I lie on my stomach
dad will have feet made of concrete
but his body will still be like palm leaves
I will have to laugh at my own jokes
and ice my own bruised knees
for a while

above all, I wish for the following:
sturdy legs that don’t give out after I’ve walked the length of a strange station
searching for a runaway train
a glimmer from the sweet Parisian rain and the blissful Spanish sun
a new set of lenses with broad castles and rough cliffs and extensive oceans
a jar full of foreign voices, bright smiles, truths
and the fullest heart –
                I hope to find me.

Rebecca Maria Rose Gismondi is a Toronto-based poet, screenwriter and playwright.
Recently, she directed and wrote her first short film,
Souvenir, and had
her first play,
Tachycardia, performed at the Toronto Fringe Festival.  She studied
poetry in England and Portugal this past summer, and is currently working on her
second short film. You can visit her blog at:
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