The sun grows garish, then gaunt.
An acting orange organ
in the bedroom,

This is the way you’ve come to me this evening—
in a box, on the wall, reflected.

in the slatted
shadows of the shutter,

then not even there.

Before the orange ebbs completely,
into the autumn night and
you abscond,

I strain myself to listen
for a tune
of your affections.

One comes up from the loin of my tongue,
like muddy
waters onto my lips.

Though this could be a phantom too—
as nightfall on Uranus.

Questions and Answers

What inspired “Embouchure”?

This poem came out of a period of frustrated love, and loss. To evoke the complex mix of emotion I was feeling at the time, I drew on image, diction, imagination, and thought—and threw in a little punch at the end with the word “Uranus.”

This poem “Embouchure” originally appeared in Canadian Literature 165 (Summer 2000): 76.

Please note that works on the Canadian Literature website may not be the final versions as they appear in the journal, as additional editing may take place between the web and print versions. If you are quoting reviews, articles, and/or poems from the Canadian Literature website, please indicate the date of access.