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Chocolate Milk Ritual

by Alan Harnum

Some summer after Our Mother died

  Our Father took us east to PEI;

in the A-frame on the red beach I

  read trilogies one after another.


Later we took a car ferry to Vermont,

  where Our Mother once frowned at

banana ice cream and Our Father

  had outstanding parking tickets.


We drove to Toronto, bought Gardnerian

  paperbacks from little used bookstores;

J---- must have been at least seventeen,

  so I was at best twenty.


I remember: we spoke about the art of

  fiction, that bad Brother to the art

of memory; we drank a litre each of

  sun-warm gas-station chocolate milk.


Then, synchronicity, threw up

  violently into plastic snack bowls,

one vivid yellow, one deep blue; I've

  not drunk chocolate milk since.


Our Father pulled to the roadside

  and we dumped them, believing they

held all the exact black body

  radiation of Our Mother's body.


  And I've not drunk chocolate milk

since, but rarely I dream that families

  of deer come softly from the highway's

sheathing woods; they sniff the vivid

  poisons of the bowls, aspiring

to drink, then turn their antlered

  heads and go.


Alan Harnum

Alan Harnum is a former librarian who writes poetry and software in Toronto. His poetry has appeared in talking about strawberries all of the time, Unlost Journal and FreezeRay Poetry.

You can find him on:

Twitter (@waharnum)

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