301 Moved Permanently

301 Moved Permanently


Small Clothes

From Under the Keel, published by House of Anansi in 2013. Michael Crummey is the author of four books of poetry and a book of short stories, and a winner of the Bronwen Wallace Memorial Award and the Milton Acorn People’s Poetry Award, among other honours. He lives in St. John’s.


near Corner Brook, Newfoundland ca. 1940


This is where he told me to stand

under the washing on the line


He’d come up the hill lugging his camera

and set it down in the garden,

staring out over the harbour with both hands

to the small of his back like he’d just bought

the place from God


Didn’t see me there till I said hello,

him jumping and rubbing his palms together then,

like someone up to no good,

told me to stand over there,

never even asked after my name


I stood over there like he said

my dress billowing out with the washing

and I never felt so foolish


What do you want me to do I asked him

Look out at the water he said

I said What’s to look at out there?

You just look he said


My mother said he was a queer stick

to take a picture and not even

ask me to smile for it


She was hiding in the kitchen all this time

and never came out first or last


Wouldn’t be caught dead

talking to some man who’d seen

her small clothes faffering in the breeze

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