Richard Osler

After Seventy Years

Her kisses are missing. Call 911. My mother,
her eyes, are missing, their colour, blue,
Precambrian lake blue, that old, that used
to a world, in its spin, its rounds around
a necessary brightness. The sun is missing.
The purple flowers of the Agapanthus lily
are missing. Gone seventy years. My mother
is lost. Call 911. She wanders from room to room,
passes through my father, leaves parts of herself,
like smoke from her Buckingham’s. It gathers
inside him, holds a blackness from buried years,
layer by layer – pressure and heat. My mother
is listening in a chair, in a room, to an agapanthus
that she wanted after my grandmother cared for it
for seventy years without a bloom. My mother
is missing. Call 911. She’s lost in a dream,
a lily asleep in the arms of the first purple bloom.



Going to Church In Nyamata, Rwanda

Let the tin roof creak and groan.
There are no sounds but this.
Small sounds.
The sound the sun becomes
on a hot tin roof.

These corrugations perfectly straight
high above the tiled crypt,
catacomb and skulls, thousands,
mirthless, having a last laugh.

Dust combs through cavities for secrets written in invisible ink.
I want distance, measurements.
By the foot, by the inch.
By the inch, a world

moves closer.

Clutch a rosary. No bridge
between here
and a puzzled god.



By Richard Osler

, poet and money manager, lives in Duncan, B.C., Canada. His chapbook of small poems Where the Water Lives was published by Leaf Press in 2012. His poems have appeared also in journals including CV2, Malahat Review, Antigonish Review, Prairie Fire and Ruminate Magazine in the U.S. In 2011 he was shortlisted for the Malahat Open Season Awards in poetry. He also leads poetry workshops in drug and alcohol recovery centres.