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Mulciber by Lynn Crosbie

Queen Rat by Lynn Crosbie


by Lynn Crosbie

Michael takes me to the cabana;
I am hot and flustered.
The Havana sun beats on our striped umbrella,
I drink banana daiquiris and Michael sips
club sodas, cool and self-possessed.

Why don’t we ever talk, I ask, flustered by his
attention, his quiet kindness.

I was so mad at you, I begin, and his patient smile
disarms me. My admission settles, the residue of pulp
and ice. Another! I call, rattling my glass. Please.

Mama said I wasn’t hers, I tell Michael. That I was
left by the Gypsies. He holds my hand.

As he swoons in the nightclub he will seize
the railing, deciphering my plans.

The clock is easing to midnight: lovers embrace
and stardust falls.

Michael grabs me amid the pandemonium and kisses
me, hard, on the lips.

You broke my heart, he says.
I take flight, my mouth bruised,
for he is righteous, and he hath
taken arms against perfidy:
he, who is like God.

Originally published in 1998, Lynn Crosbie brought her unique voice to the forefront of Canadian poetry with this important collection of verse. Hers is a world of Shakespeare, skinheads, and centurions; and hers is a life stripped to the basics and then reconstructed with relish, every brick scrutinized meticulously.

In Queen Rat her language is urban, but her soul is universal as she explores that which makes up everything.

Featuring a new introduction by poet and musician Michael Turner.

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