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  • Ontario Creates
  • Ontario Arts Council
  • Canada Council for the Arts

5 a.m.

From Brick 110

for Stan Dragland and for Kris Coleman

The wilderness of our youth, an empty barn,
dancing with friends into the small hours,
then daylight and the cars swerving away
wordless into the dawn

It arrives all at once tonight,
not as memory, but as a gift
from forgetfulness,
as a desire can wake you

or this poem
based on the accidental change of speed
in a friend’s camera into slow motion

So now I remember
the rest of our shadows
as we danced, all our heartbeats
under the thunder

and I can speak to you the way
we once sang farewells out of our cars
late at night, when those
goodbyes remembered everything

Michael Ondaatje is the author of several books including Divisadero and The Cat’s Table. He was till 2013 an editor at Brick. He lives in Toronto.

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Read from Brick 110

Read from Brick 110