Driving Through Kitsilano
by Aidan Chafe
I want to know how much the passing tree
is charging for its angle of shade.
A selfie beneath its twisted embrace.
Whether my last paycheque could cover
a blade of leaf, a sampling of sap.
I worry a neighbourhood toll booth
is stationed around the bend
waiting to collect luxury tax.
I remember building a tree fort
with Clayton behind his parent’s
fenced-in yard out of plywood
his father took from work.
We spent a summer
swinging hammers to semblance
that nine-year-old-boy conception
of architectural symmetry.
The stain of each nail’s rust red skin
disappearing until a metal circle remained.
I bled from one, the samurai of the bunch,
thrusting its sharp head out of a pile
of waterlogged wood.
Now, 25 years later, I wonder
if the fort’s still there,
whether someone’s put it up
on the market, waiting for me
with my middle class wage
to return home.
Aidan Chafe is the author of the poetry collection Short Histories of Light (McGill-Queen’s University Press) that was longlisted for the 2019 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. He lives on unceded Musqueam territory (Burnaby, BC).
You can find him on Twitter at @allegorically