Catherine Graham

A Grey Goose Afternoon in Victoria

Our realtor happens to be P. K. Page's grandson, Arthur Irwin (a fantastic realtor by the way!) and when my partner John and I were planning a trip to B. C. a few years ago John, unbeknownst to me, had made arrangements through Arthur for us to meet my literary hero, P. K. Page. I was very nervous when I found out about the invitation to visit her home one Sunday afternoon. I'd heard her read before, and had been a fan of her work for years, but had never met her. Next thing I knew, there she was at the top of the stairs warmly inviting us into her home. Arthur had mentioned she liked Grey Goose Vodka, so after presenting her with a bottle we proceeded to get tipsy with P. K.! The lovely afternoon went by so fast. After she signed my books, I gave her a copy of my poetry collection, Pupa . “Thank you,” she said and then she looked me in the eye. “You know, I might not like it.” A week later she sent me an email to let me know how much she liked my work. I was thrilled.

Forest of Sleep

a boy of twelve, lies fast asleep.
He is summoned in a dream
to go to Mamma.

As he glides into her room...

     “Crazy for another Baby,” Dorothy Molloy

Because I can't see it
I still
know it's there. This he thinks
without the why
or the wherefore as he simmers
rain on his fevering
forehead, damp as the cloth
his Mamma put there,
now dry as a leaf on the carpet's corner.
A boy of twelve lies fast asleep

dreaming no reason
until he hears:
stay still, stay put.
His body twitches.
His body
wants out. To be of no
mind is to be a lost country.
Tethered
to air that's already empty,
he is summoned in a dream

to stop his heart twitching.
Paradox has made him
involuntary. His eyes scan
his sleeping lids;
awake in a state of morning.
You die when you land,
you never wake up.
So he falls
like a leaf, a curled autumn cloth. But oh how he aches
to go to Mamma.

Mamma won't come.
She lies in a room
where the eyes
never close.
Felled tree
in a forest,
she's the artery
of heartwood. He reaches
for her
as he glides into her room.

 

P. K. Page

November 23rd, 1916—
January 14th, 2010

Patricia Young and P. K. Page

Patricia Young with P. K. Page.