Royal City, New Westminster, BC

The Immigrant’s Tango

Sitting amongst refrains of nostalgia
rooted in past shadows
A walled flower

Eyes meet,
in trespass or invitation?
Her vined legs unwind
from the seat of familiar

With one arm they embrace,
their other stop-sign hands clasp
marking a joined border
of resistance

Transplanted onto this dance floor
soiled with memories,
they negotiate the boundary
of their new, shared space
With each haunting call of the bandoneon,
compelling their circling steps
into now

The insinuating rhythm
unites them with one pulse
and yet
the eternal push, pull
hiding, enfolding
Clinging to the music’s strains
drawing them together, apart
this tensile arrival, separation
never quite pausing
in past or future

Just a timeless heartbeat
of sinewed silence
before the music propels them on
Moving as one,
the dancers seek freedom
through their locked embrace,
escape without departure
Echoing the bandoneon’s pull, push
Leaving, returning
Mourning, uniting

Into a finale flourish.
Then the tango begins anew.
(dimly remembered past seasons
litter their feet)
yet they dance on
singing for freedom
calling for home

© Vanessa Winn
First published in Quill’s Canadian Poetry Magazine





The Ice Queen

Her crystallized crust of reserve
cloaks her in a lean mantle
a worn habit of niceties
stiffened into a formal frost

with the brittle brilliance of glass,
she reflects others in multi-faceted splendour,
fractured in their mirrored images
her own view

Her earthen body heaves
and cracks under
the unwelcome coating of a lonely winter
that keeps her heart in translucent darkness
and, beneath her cascading crown,
her iced blue eyes guarded lie flashing

If her heated words
in flared temper
melt a window through the mask of her quicksilver skin,
will she shatter in exposed implosion,
by constructed shards?

Or will the sun penetrate
and radiate through her
until the cold veneer slides off
leaving her nakedly hopeful
in the early spring

© 2005 Vanessa Winn
First published in Island Writer Magazine