Just This Kind of Day

A blustery day.
Choppy whitecaps on the lake.
The sun trying to break through the striated clouds.

My hair whipping across my face
then swept back.

Shoulders hunched.
Arms crossed tight.
Hands tucked in sleeves.

A thin figure pulling a suitcase
draws slowly closer until
I see his brown, weather-beaten roadmap face
beneath a hunter green acrylic cap
wide cuff pulled down to wispy grey eyebrows.

Thin, straight lips and a grey -stubbled chin,
wiry form encased
in a narrow black double breasted trench coat,
he stops, looks at me with skittish eyes:
“Cold today isn’t it!”
Not a question.
“Reminds me of a day…of a day…in Okinawa,”
voice wavering,
eyes looking into the past;
“The high wind then, just like now.
Just this kind of day. And the Americans fired on the ship.
Thing broke right in two.”

“Really!” I exclaim, but he doesn’t hear. He isn’t here.
He’s in Okinawa, 1945.

The wind picks up and pushes him along.
I watch his bent form plodding
and wonder what’s in that narrow suitcase
he pulls behind him.
The day is tinged with melancholy.

This poem is linked to dVerse Poets Open Link Night 41, hosted by  Brian Miller.

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About Chris

Chris Galvin is a Canadian writer, editor and photographer dividing her time between Canada and Viet Nam. Her essay Flood Season was a finalist for the 2012 Best of the Net prize, and Discovering Hến Rice in Central Việt Nam won third place (shared) and a Readers’ Choice Award in the 2015 I Must Be Off! Travel Essay Contest. Her work has appeared in various anthologies and literary journals, including Descant, Asian Cha, PRISM International, Room, and others. She has written in Vietnamese and English for Vietnam Tourism Review/Kham Pha Du Lich Vietnam Magazine, Travellive, and Du Lich Giai Tri. Chris is currently looking for a home for her recently completed manuscript, Breakfast Under the Bodhi Tree, a book about living, eating, and tour-guiding in Viet Nam.
This entry was posted in Creative Non-Fiction, National Poetry Month. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Just This Kind of Day

  1. D. D. Syrdal says:

    This is wonderful, I can see him so clearly, and feel that cold wind!

    • chris says:

      This happened a couple of days ago. It was weird, and like I said in the poem, melancholy. I wished I could talk to him and find out more, but then he was gone.

  2. Wonderful imagery, great verses,excellent memory. Amazing poetry.

    http://sulekharawat.com/2012/04/20/splintered/

  3. mark says:

    Vivid. Very vivid…well done, making yourself a teller of the poem…

  4. chris says:

    Mark, thanks, as always. Glad you like it.

  5. Nice storytelling here, Chris.

  6. brian miller says:

    great story telling…love the description of his face…the acknowledgement he is there but is not, lost to his memory as he ambles on….cool connection you made with him in verse…

  7. claudia says:

    very cool…love how you describe him…really can see him standing there with his thoughts back in 1945… a sensitive picture of words that is chris…very nice..

  8. majjellica says:

    Nostalgic, told a nice visual story.Everyone has a story that we might wonder about.The wind is cold here today, so can feel this as you tell it.Thanks for sharing.

  9. tashtoo says:

    One of those random, life-defining moments. Amazing how encounters can shape our thoughts, our words. A fantastic and most poetic retelling Chris…thank you for sharing the moment.

  10. ayala says:

    A wonderful write. Sensitive and nostalgic.

  11. poetcolette says:

    Dissociative, yet piercing.
    Like a living nightmare.

  12. marousia says:

    Oh this is so spooky – sent a chill right down my spine – I wonder too what is in the suitcase

  13. Semaphore says:

    What I love about poetry is its ability to fill up an entire narrative in the space of a few lines. And here, with the wind, and the man with the suitcase, you evoke an entire historical tableau, halway around the world and another time, but with implications that reverberate to today.

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