Red Heat


Red Heat

on this day
in Winnipeg
even polar bears
watch us from Broadway,
and we sit and love
on these historic steps
leading up to our Hotel Fort Garry,
and hold, for a time,
icy bottles of cream soda and
the condensation and rings
drive us mad, with love,
and people hit their brakes
and honk at us,
smiling at your wedding dress,
here in the northern sunlight,
but then we had to leave it
in your parents’ basement, for a

time to cross

a country and then a sea
of wild rye and nodding needles
and the cold concrete
at the border station, with its
erect black uniforms, silver
sunglasses and
latex fingers and,
the prairie wind howls,
at the bare skin of our heart,
raised today like a flag
between two countries.

Oh, Canada burns like a cardinal against our snow.

and so we roar and stomp
and leave one paw-print
of red
in our snow
and then go to bed
and wait for the visible
light to change
to faith, some smoldering,
infrared glow.


TS Poetry’s February theme of Red called for a poem.


17 thoughts on “Red Heat

  1. Pingback: From Blush to Fiery Passion

  2. Thanks Matt. Nostalgia is both sweet and cruel. Great moments yet impossible to retrace. You instantly took me back to the love of that city, the many great moments, places, and friends there. The memories you invoked brought a tear or two until l remembered the wind at Portage and Main in January. It was so cold on one visit that the brass boy on top of the Golden dome was crouching. i don’t understand how poets do it but as your friend ‘shrinkingthecamel’ describes it -Sweet.

  3. The flag caught me – mine!

    I love this line: “Oh, Canada burns like a cardinal against our snow.”

    Lots of interesting images, sounds and even tastes… I need me a cream soda!

  4. Matthew, okay. Is this a first poem? Is that why the deep breath?

    I am *so* delighted. This is filled with such terrific images, deep thought, great sound. Welcome… to poetry? :)

    • I haven’t written a poem in more than 15 years. So, yes, when you invited me to build one in two days, I took a deep breath after I finally got it out there. So thankful for your encouraging welcome, L.L.

      Ya. Poetry feels like home.

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