Well there were the three of us,
Jules, Larissa and I, at Snakes and Lattes
which has a lot to do with the milk of human kindness
in the dark places where the old serpents lead us,
on the edge of Remembrance Day, talking of Leonard Cohen
While only a car ride away, along the old road east
Leonard was preparing himself to be buried
in the old Jewish cemetery, already dead
as we talked of The Famous Blue Rain Coat
and Alex would come down from the north to sing for us
one last time, to sing for us all,
The Famous Blue Raincoat with Rory on the guitar
one last time for the last holiday party
the coming holiday party
While we three were playing
a board game called Concept, trying to fathom
the American Election and Leonard had died
even as we spoke, and Larissa had spent the night crying
about the animals and the world,
now that the world was trumped.
Jules had hugged her close.
We set to on the board game, mesmerized,
putting the question, the auxiliary, the clues
So yes, now it’s Remembrance Day, November 11,
and I fetch the paper from my front porch,
a red poppy between my teeth
thinking of all the vets who have killed themselves
after Afghanistan deployment
and I unfold the paper, and there he is,
Leonard, sitting on his old iron bed,
In his little old house, in Montreal, near Portugal Square,
surrounded by feathery pillows, and a puffy duvet,
wearing a suit and a small beret
and The Famous Blue Raincoat
is floating up to the ceiling.
Copyright © Karen Mulhallen. Originally published in Release Any Words Stuck Inside of You: An untethered Collection of Shorts (Applebeard Editions, 2018).
Karen Mulhallen has published 17 books of poetry, including Seasons in An Unknown Key (Tightrope Books, 2017) and Captive Love (Quattro Books, 2017). She has worked on several magazines as an editor.