"1972" & "Poem about my concrete apartment building facing the one..." by Brian Baker


Did you know that in

the summer of 1972

I ran the merry-go-round

in Springbank Park and

am really not too sure how

I did not run it right into the ground

or maybe even up on its side

and roll it into the river,

with its grinding gears and

pounding eight-track, the

thing relentlessly whirling,

gyrating from early morning

to the dark of night when I switched

on the lights

and if you came

with your young daughter just

before I started to roll the tarps

down, for sure I would let you ride

for free, there would be just the two

of you in the twilight damp, you

and she would be haloed there on

your horses, high in the merry-go-round

air, and me, resting there on the

guardrail chains below you,

every fourteen seconds,

waving back.

Poem about my concrete apartment building

facing the one my wife now lives in

and how we periodically meet in the expanse of parking lot

between us to exchange boxes, as if they were prisoners.

Boxes which soon emptied out onto counters, creating mounds

of things which were then ignored and almost thrown out

until I found it--what I had thought was a simple key ring

made from one of our dead niece’s memorial wrist bands

but, when I looked, discovered my wife had looped the

band through my wedding ring and, in this way, returned the ring to me.

Hard that it was almost an afterthought, without mention, just left there

in the bottom of a box, no envelope, nothing from her hand to mine.

The ring and the wrist band still are, and may always remain, intertwined

like this-- two tragedies, one more than the other

but, in the meantime, no warning to be aware, as put back together as you thought

you were, that there was still one thing left to break you, hidden in a box.

A note from the author: A handful of my recent work. Started writing back in the late eighties, had work in such journals as University of Windsor Review, Dandelion, The Antigonish Review, and others. A hiatus followed while raising two families, with work in recent years in Sledgehammer Lit, Synaeresis, High Shelf Press and Cathexis Northwest Press. Winner of the Antler River Poetry contest in 2020 and 2022.