Alex Boyd

THE UNDERTOW OF THE WORLD

At four, what does my son dream about?
Chocolate letters, spiral swirls of crayon,
not the grasping fingers of a nebula
spider-crushed by a black hole, and not
the slow tumble of a political fiasco
or a furious hound on his scent wanting
to leave him flattened as a kipper. He lives
in hastily assembled shacks of harmony
as he’s neatly steered around all fiascos.
Carry me as much as you can, he tells me
on the slow, Saturday, routine drop down
a tree-lined street to the library and bakery.
There’s always the next tempest, and hope
it can be made manageable. As a boy,
my father and family left the dining room
right before the ceiling came down. Now,
climate disaster is a dull, elusive moth
that comes through the room every day
while I live with my son, who wakes us,
one night to say he dreamed his teacher
held his head, so that he couldn’t move it.


Alex Boyd has written for publications such as The Globe and Mail and Taddle Creek magazine. He helped establish Best Canadian Essays, co-editing the first two collections of work selected from Canadian magazines. His poetry collections are Making Bones Walk (2007) winner of the Gerald Lampert Award, and more recently The Least Important Man (2012). In 2018 his first novel was published: Army of the Brave and Accidental, described by Canadian Notes & Queries as “timely, original and profound.”