e before i

I set out to find Glenn Gould’s gravesite.

Row 1088, Plot 1050. Nowhere near the rose garden.


I wanted to see those notes. The Goldberg Variations.

Inscribed. You always said music was your compass.


In spite of everything, you were mine.


But the grass was long and thick and wet.

And I gave up. Couldn’t keep on going.


Rose petals stuck to my palms.

And I threw them. Against the black locust.


A flash—restaurant in Winnipeg, the starched uniform.

My waitress pen inscribed Charterhouse.


How he stopped eating his breaded veal cutlet.

Signed the white paper, still wearing white gloves.


He didn’t say anything. I didn’t know how to tell

he spelled your name wrong. Reversed the i and the e.


I still look at that autograph. Now and then.

Marilyn Potter, originally from Winnipeg, now lives in Toronto. Her poetry has appeared in PRISM international, Room, American Tanka, Ribbons, The Heron’s Nest, Modern Haiku, World Haiku Review and the international anthology Take Five: Best Contemporary Tanka. Marilyn won the Betty Drevniok Award, the Toronto Art Bar Discovery Night and Best Canadian Poem in the Haiku Invitational.