‘Place Hopping’ by Carolyne Van Der Meer

The Organ Player, St. Joseph’s Oratory

Lucinda is in love
Every Sunday she goes to the free afternoon concert
to see his oversized image
on the big screen in the basilica

She sits in the pew
her eyes locked on the alternating images
his hands, the back of his head
his profile, his feet

His hair, like a lion’s mane, black unruly
the Roman profile, the lips that purse at every crescendo
his hands, red and inelegant
that become the wands of inexplicable magic

as they race across the keys
She feels beads of perspiration
imagines those fingers on her
her body electric with desire

And his feet
oh his feet
as they select the pedals with such certainty
the pointed-toed shoes and colourful striped socks

the one sign of vanity
arresting her
Lucinda holds her head in her hands
to Bach’s Toccata, adagio & fugue in D minor



At Pizza Vesuvio, Champs Élysées  

On this patio we let the wind
undo our hair

around us Cartier Bulgari Lancel
herds of tourist shopping bags

a man in a wheelchair one leg amputated
war veteran perhaps

rolls up to a mother and daughter
waves his hands behind the girl as the mother takes a photo

for just a moment I have admiration
think he is the father

think what a strong family to endure
such hardship but they 

look at him stunned
as he laughs rolls away

we go back to our pizza
wind undoing our hair



Mutt on the Saguenay River

He barks on the shoreline as they search the beach
during low tide. He’s excited by what’s
beneath the water. His yelps are drawn-out groans—

if only he could see this landscape, these creatures
as he swipes his paws against the cool spray.
Now he sinks in pewter-coloured clay,

wishes for crabs that hide in the half-light.


CAROLYNE VAN DER MEER lives and writes in Montreal, Canada. She has two published books, Motherlode: A Mosaic of Dutch Wartime Experience (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2014) and Journeywoman (Inanna, 2017). A third book, a collection of poetry called Sensorial, is forthcoming from Inanna in 2021. Her poetry and prose have been published internationally.

Copyright © 2019 by Carolyne Van Der Meer. All rights reserved.