By the twin dogs of harbour park

By the twin dogs of harbour park,

first dates begin, sweat beads

greeting under meticulously gelled

hair, stretched across the shaded bench,

watching yachts glide across the still

Atlantic. Strangers breathing the summer

breeze lounge around — wonder if they

hear the continuous tapping of fingers on

my thighs? Across downtown, two pairs

of feet trot, shoe kissing gravel, figuring

where North was, ending up at an Irish

pub, to drink rhum and split a platter

of chicken tenders and fries.

When the bill’s been halved,

the fountains of Bannerman

call,  the broken middle inciting

the mutual understanding of broken down

families, unattainable

dreams, and the failure of

love and life, two broken

souls desperate to be fixed.

Circling to the harbour park,

we lay on concrete side

by side, Nic Chagall sweetly

playing from a cellphone,

contemplating the clouded

sky: “Starless,” I begin.

“They’re hiding behind

the clouds,” he says.

“Damn,” I reply. “Damn clouds.”

I wait for the song to be over,

or for the bus to arrive, willing

the pulses to quicken or slow,

blood to feel, yet ending up

at that make-or-break point after five

hours of no longer being lonely, thanking

him for waiting, him thanking me for

the company — but of course, since

I’m all sorts of wonderful, I blurt out

“Well, this is awkward” — then he laughs

and taps me on the shoulder goodbye.

His red backpack was walking home

meeting the yellow lights of

my incoming bus, shrinking second

by second until I flick my cigarette

and board the bus.

By the twin dogs of harbour park,

first dates begin. This is also

where some of them end.