Register Monday | March 4 | 2024

Ample Habitat

A poem by Bardia Sinaee.

At first I thought it was music:
the sound of a hammer dropping down
three flights of scaffolding at the former
Perth Avenue Methodist Church, a 40-unit
loft conversion so plagued by setbacks
that its billowing tarps and heretical slogan—
“Praise the Loft”—have become
as emblematic of the neighbourhood
as the railroad bells or the pickled lard smell
from the gelatin plant. At least
nobody was hurt. Hating on this city
is a rite of passage I choose to embrace
to demonstrate my love. City of delays,
egregious detours, great rebar
obstacle courses, of mid-rises
aging without grace, like tulips.
Remember the first place we looked at
by the corner store at Dupont and Perth?
A garish bachelor with pigeon wire
on the window ledges. They ran out
of applications so I listed our references
on a napkin. We visit friends in basements,
converted factories; small, unlikely spaces
where light must beg its way. Public
meetings have concluded for the planned
rail bridge whose announcement last spring
inspired apocalyptic lawn signs—
local property owners were suddenly
concerned about the fate of a few
Siberian elms. We keep to ourselves
and adorn our rented strip with
porch rail planters full of frilly marigolds.
To mitigate confinement, broaden
your awareness of the accessible world.
It’s a new thing I’m trying. I spot a cardinal,
then read about it for an hour on
my phone. Last year they nested near
the brownfield developers just filled
with precast foundation. Both sexes have
a song like shots volleyed from a ray gun.
In courtship, males attempt to place seeds
directly into a partner’s mouth.