Wednesday Poem

Memories of Wolodymyr Serotiuk's Birthday

Sometimes, riding on a train
I think of you in the thirties
and can hardly keep from crying.

We were a carousel
governed by an out of whack calliope
from Toronto to Geraldton
to Fort Francis
to Timmins
to Kenora
to Port Arthur-Fort William
to Sudbury
to Coniston
to Rouyn, Noranda
than back to Toronto.

Always back to Toronto
where we had to leave the baby Mama had.

Standing six four
a stately hussar
wearing spats, watch chain and fedora
you held my skinny six-year-old hand.
We were a pair
riding the rails.

Mama died in thirty seven
left me wit you.
“Poison in the born parts,” you told me.
The Catholic Children's Aid
said a man couldn't look after a little girl
but we fooled them
didn't we
and ran away together.

They got Ronnie though.
He was only two days old.
“Some good family
will adopt the baby,” Miss jeffrey pronounced.

“Vee Ukrainians
no let people adopt our babies.
Vee no sign avay cheeldren,” you said.

And we never did.

by Sonja Dunn
from Uncivilizing
Insomniac Press, 1997.