Frances Boyle

North Star

Yes, dear, I know my closets are full of clutter.
I know there won't be room in the new apartment,
know I may never even wear the darn thing;
it doesn't suit my complexion, doesn't suit my age.

It belonged to your grandmother so it is going with me.
Here, pack these shoes and dresses for the sale. Stick
bargain prices on the luggage, those mismatched mugs,
Christmas lights, two cardboard boxes of Tupperware.

But I'm keeping this cap, odd as it is: crest of a long-defunct
hockey team-Minnesota North Stars-proud on the crown.
God knows where Grandma got it, maybe your cousins' cast-off.
It shielded her head as she worked her garden, loosening soil
that prairie heat had baked till it cracked into cakes.

Let's stop a minute. Those stairs never used to bother me.
but this box of stuff is heavy. You've started paging
through old albums just like when you were tiny. Now
you are two years older than my mother was when I was born.

Oh, here's her wedding photo. See the little hat she wore?
A juliet cap they called it. Seafoam green, but you can't tell
in black and white. She kept it tissue-wrapped, high on a shelf.

I used to imagine you'd wear it for your wedding, your prom
or even those back-yard theatrics you kids used to do.
Along the way, maybe in another sale, it simply disappeared.


Frances Boyle is the author of two poetry books, most recently This White Nest (Quattro Books, 2019), as well as Seeking Shade, a short story collection (The Porcupine's Quill, 2020) and Tower, a Rapunzel-infused novella (Fish Gotta Swim Editions, 2018). She is a Best of the Net nominated Canadian writer whose poems and short stories have been published throughout North America and in the U.K., with recent and forthcoming work in Best Canadian Poetry 2020, Blackbird, Dreich, Floodlight, Parentheses Journal, Mookychick, Ice Floe and Floodlight among others. Raised on the Canadian prairies, Frances lives in Ottawa. Visit and follow @francesboyle19 on Twitter and Instagram.