The Town Game

You know Toronto?
Well
I’m not from there
but I did go to a Jay’s game
with Mrs. O’Neill’s
Grade 7 class
the year before
they won the World Series.

I went to my only rave there
with Jerimiah who didn’t know
Three Dog Night.
Lost in a phone booth
on Jane and Finch
protected by our innocence
we made it to the secret spot.

You know Peterborough?
Well
I’m not from there either
but it’s where I was born
where my brew master brother
and my (shhh-bipolar)
grandma lives.

I kissed my childhood crush
in a bathroom there
we bonded over Sublime
and Reel Big Fish
then tried to hide it
he unfriended me
on Facebook last year.

You know Lindsay?
Well
I’m not from there either
but it’s where I practiced ballet.
It became such a part of me that
even after all these years my body
still craves a port de bras
so it hurts me physically,
to attend The Nutcracker.

My farm-feeder high school
positioned at the edge of town
reeked of manure and diesel.
Good for games of asshole
in the atrium
or foosball down the street.
Committed to skipping class
and smoking Du Maurier Light King.

You know Omemee?
Well
I’m not from there either
but it’s where I learned to swim

it’s where I saw
my first fireworks
and what I see
wherever fireworks are.

I sat there, on the Bank steps
with boys who hated me
and drank warm Canadian Club
from a rinsed out
one litre Becker’s jug
and ran from the cops
because the boys yelled
“RUN”.

You won’t know Downeyville
But
That’s where I’m from.
hang a right
in Omemee – if you’re coming
from Peterborough – left
if you’re coming from Lindsay.

North
on County Road 7
put your windows down
just as the sun sets and the
crickets crank up the volume.

The smell of freshly fermented
clover in the wind and
Harper Valley PTA on the radio.

On the way to the ball game.

Turn left at the Country Store
past the Catholic Church
and St. Luke’s School
park in front of the
Knights of Columbus Hall.

Cross the street
to the school yard,
past the Love Tree
That’s where you’ll see me
In right field
with my glove open
and my eyes
shut
I’m scared of the damned ball.

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