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.

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Aidan Chafe

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