“The Waves” by Kenny Tanemura2 min read

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Illustration by Anderson Lee

Leaving the city
of towers and green spaces,
the waves crash against rocks,
Lake Huron, wind
slices into water as it does
in the Pacific.

The water moves
with the ferocity of sharks,
heedless,
so there are no boats
or swimmers.

We recede inland
to the false calm
of townhouse
complexes made of mahogany
or oakwood
or cherrywood
or walnut

finer than any desk
you wrote on
or any table
you ate on
or any bed
you slept in when
you were most alive.

The hardwood floors
keep the tenants content,
the dark wood of the cabinets
a consolation.

Life goes on outside,
waves cresting
and the still water
between them where
nothing rises and bursts,
placid except
for the steel gray
ripples like
muscles tensing.

Music is played in the city.
The Europeans
of another century
are resurrected,

their iris stalks
and starlit cafes
so far from where
the living sleep.
They reek
of life more than the living

who park their trophy cars
and march up the steps,
not knowing others have represented
their days,

the waste
of strip malls and strip malls
and the big mall
where the bodies go
as in a congregation.

They listen
to the gospel
of jingles and sales.

The men are so far gone
tassels and buckles
appear on their shoes.

They have forgotten
the olive trees and wheatfields,
the districts of cities
and their Basilicas
and boulevards.

If only they could return
to the city and be like the waves
crashing against the rocks.

We leave the city and watch
the waves strike and crack
against the hard quartz on the shore,
the lake rising to the stature
of the sea.


Kenneth Tanemura has an MFA in Creative Writing from Purdue University. He lives and writes in Mississauga.

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