Lionel-Groulx Station

In June along the Lachine Canal
children splash in the fountain, lick
creamy cones, ride pint-sized bikes
in fast circles in and out of the crowd.
Young and old couples walk hand
in hand as brightly colored pedal boats
glide by in glittering water—a perfect
day in Montreal. At the Metro station
on Atwater, a heavy-set African woman
appears on my left, a dark figure cloaked
in loose fitting clothes—flowing skirt,
faded brown blouse, shoes I cannot see.
First I hear a tinkle then a quiet rush
like a child learning before the flush.
She stands perfectly still. Her eyes look
beyond me, straight ahead. The stream
stutters then flows with a soft swoosh
onto hot pavement. No one looks her
way as if this act creates invisibility
or just another moment in the day.

Marc Swan