Marian’s Memorial, Plug-In Gallery

One day this will be all of us,

everyone I know and all that’s left:

sitting on plastic chairs in a dim

gallery room, sensible shoes, precise

new haircuts and old jewelry. Walkers,

careful walking, and the high white

walls like hard open palms, slapping

every syllable back into the stark

room, paintings unhung, bodies,

concrete floor. My body reverberates

with the echoing consonants of thirty

murmured conversations. The walls

are blank, and stupid. The portrait

at the front of the room slouches

on its easel. Canes clack against metal

chair legs. No one is unfamiliar. No

one leads us in anything. We are all

articulate and sad at once. Your

mouth, in the portrait, has no words,

no comment, which is unlike you,

and unsettling, and the exact

moment when art

becomes scrapbooking.

With our good clothes and good

and careful postures, we turn

the pages, turn down the lights

when we leave. Keep our smartest

jackets in the closet for next time,

taxi fare and photocopied broadsheets

in our pockets. 

Chandra Mayor is a Winnipeg poet and novelist. She is the author of three books, including the Lambda Award-winning short story collection All the Pretty Girls. Her work appears in various anthologies including Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme. She has served as a poetry editor for CV2 and Prairie Fire, and has been the Writer-in-Residence at the Winnipeg Public Library and the University of Winnipeg.