Charlotte Hussey

Poet , Creativity Coach, & Dancer

Charlotte Hussey, a Canadian poet from Montreal, recently launched her latest book of poetry, Glossing The Spoils , and is excited to share it with the world. 

Rue St. Famille

PICTOU COUNTY ESCAPE

“We are all haunted houses.” H.D,

1

Paul snatches my dinner plate

before the last, boiled carrot’s eaten,

plunges it into the soapy dishpan,

and squints suspiciously out

a kitchen window into the dark

jutting from the overhanging cliffs,

where yesterday he hunted quail.

It was then he saw the ghost light

bobbing feverishly up the glen.

 

He didn’t take aim, as Jake Ferguson

did, a dreamer and drunk of sorts,

busting his rifle, retreating in terror

to his house. Spine-stiff, teeth

chattering, he collapsed in the up-

stairs bedroom where Paul, when he

bought the Ferguson farm, found

piles of breast bones and rabbit thighs.

 

To ward off the enclosing dark, Paul

lights a lamp, sits at the pine table

redrafting a poem, week after week,

editing down a year of his life

into seventeen Japanese syllables,

polished and scrubbed like the dishes

and floors he returns to on hands

and knees, looking for traces of blood.

2

So after dinner on the porch I rock,

no one to talk to but a spotted cat

whose unfed litter mews. Refusing

my touch, they dart under the shed

where they eyes glint like marbles

partially buried in black earth, as Paul

goes on retelling how he waltzed

the bride of Bonny Prince Charlie

through the apple orchard, or was it merely

a brocade gown he glimpsed

like a white wing grazing a window?

3

From an upstairs window,

I see something skimming the ground

in white taffeta, or is it an animal

gliding through the fog? In my mother’s backyard,

the foxes gulped down table scraps

and their eyes, reflecting light,

glowed from within, showing no feelings,

simply open like Paul’s, as he reaches for me,

creaking the ravaged bedsprings.

Calming myself I count the freckles

on his shoulder, as moonlight splinters

through the crazed windowpane,

stains the musty wallpaper like the last

drawings Ferguson sketched there:

charcoaled faces, half-skin, half-skull.

4

Morning’s downpour dents the car roof

with a rockabilly rhythm that I

cannot control, as I cannot Paul,

who drifts across the white line

of a road that ends in ruts of earth.

Downshifting past the ditch where last

week he rolled the car, smashing

headlights and his glasses,

he weaves on down the dirt lane,

seven more miles to the sea, while I,

braced on the ripped front seat for the bumps,

keep wanting to escape like the screams

I wash down with warm beer, as the rain

drums everything into silt-red waves.

 

Discarding my clothes on a granite cliff,

I sink into a cleansing tide,

red silt renewing my skin,

as thunder threatens overhead

and lightning strikes, flicking the surf

with its hard, metallic tongue.