5 a.m.

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

Brick 110

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.