Momentum by Frances Boyle

This trip makes your heart hurt, not 
that old slow ache, echo of tires on wet pavement 
through an underpass, but palpable 
palpitation, crazed clock ticking  
sideways through time. A beam 
swings up a hill, makes sculpture of the clouds, 
carves out the road, bulky, solid. 
Things you pass at the side but don’t see 
properly—stark black weeds and fences,  
trees and sheds and houses,  
signs and neon lights, and your eyes burn dry 
when you’re this tired, the heater blowing its weary breath.   

You want to live forever with your family in the space 
within the passage carved by light.    

The moon a knowing blood orange  
hovers on the horizon, takes light doesn’t 
give it. Pulls you on with the same grave carelessness 
she pulls the oceans. So cold in your warm car 
you feel the greedy night fix its mouth to the windows 
watching your tousled teenagers curled like cats 
in the back seat, their mingled breath milkwarm 
from singing and gossip, now hushed  
as you hurtle through the night, moon-mad with memories.  
You want to crawl inside 
their pearly skin, peer through their eyes 
at the world and the moonlight on it.  


Copyright © Frances Boyle. Originally published in Light-carved Passages (BuschekBooks, 2014).


Frances Boyle’s debut collection of poetry is Light-carved Passages, and a second poetry book is forthcoming in 2019. Her novella, Tower, was published in 2018. Frances’s poems and short stories have received national and local awards, including the Diana Brebner Prize and The Great Canadian Literary Hunt, and appeared in anthologies and literary magazines, both print and online, throughout Canada and in the U.S. She lives in Ottawa, where she is part of the editorial team for Arc Poetry Magazine, and reviews for Canthius. Find Frances on Instagram and Twitter at @francesboyle19.

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