My poem “Shine” has just been published in Arc Poetry Magazine 86, the Summer 2018 Issue, available only as a print issue right now. Shine didn’t win Arc’s Poem of the Year award but was shortlisted for it. You can read the poem and the judge’s comments here. I am very honoured to be among the finalists and to have this poem finally go out into the world and what a beautiful journal to make its first appearance in!
I’ve been off the grid for a couple of weeks, away boating where there’s no cell reception or internet or papers or TV! I hope to post more frequently, now that I’m back and almost completely moved into our new house (on a very large island no less!).
Is it a miracle
that I found the worm in time—
having gone into my den much earlier
than usual, to turn the computer on—
and saw the dark, exhausted thread of its
body lying in the middle of a desert
of beige carpet, picked it up, barely moist, and
laid it outside on the wet grass, and watched
until it finally waved goodbye at one end,
easing itself into the darkness it knows?
Or is the miracle
that the annelid slid
through sealed doors and windows
to get inside my house in the first place,
that it became a finger pointing
from the Buddha’s hand,
laying at my feet its five paired hearts
and the power of intervention—
of life continued
or of death without comment?
Is there a day without its miracle,
for doesn’t one follow the other
because of a vast accordion of worms
playing now the soil’s anthem, now its dirge,
burrowing through millennial darknesses
so plants can breathe and grow, and
become the planet’s green lungs feeding
the body of this world, each inhabitant
still part of that first inspiration:
the good air of life lived, wholly inspired.
This poem first appeared in North Shore Magazine and later in New Millennium Writing’s 25th Anthology as an honorable mention before being included in my recent chapbook “Irresistible”, available for purchase from Finishing Line Press here (always in stock) or from Amazon here.
Death’s an increasingly regular face
in our crowd, mostly dropping by
unannounced, such that I, too, might
turn over one morning, prompted awake
by Brother Jake on our favourite rock
radio station and find you smiling, your
eyes still closed, and nestling my head
as usual into your armpit and laying
my left arm across your belly,
fall through the ice
of a body devoid of breath,
and wonder what bad dream this is.
Forgive me for thinking then of your
Achilles heel—your feet so sensitive,
no one can touch them. For three
decades, just the dare of my hand
hovering over an exposed foot has
got you up and running. I confess to
imagining your eventual acquiescence
as a deliberate act of love to me some
wine-deep night on holiday. Not me
frantically rubbing your feet, rubbing
them like magic lamps, wishing
This poem was first published in the Malahat Review and is included in my new chapbook “Irresistible”, available for purchase from Finishing Line Press here
Mid-morning along the winding coastal road,
snout pressed to the pavement: a large raccoon.
No swerving – I stop and pick it up
with an old towel from the trunk of the car.
It is heavy, striped fur soft, still warm,
little hands so like mine.
Carefully I lay the body in a ditch
thick with the honeyed leaves of autumn
for I, too, want to die untrampled.
Turning to go, I see a family
of eyes intently watching
from the light-soaked foliage
on the other side of the road,
eyes that look directly into mine.
Like any good mother, she led the way,
taking the unstoppable car’s blow,
last night’s quiet masked bandit,
locked out of our world, shuffling
empty-handed back into hers,
heaped love that padded by, unrevered,
whose conversation with this earth
is now done, opening wide
the mouths of her young.
who loves it more than sunshine,
the streets so wet tonight, they are tongues
babbling in the dark—glossolalia—
they gleam baptismal, it’s like
the slosh of good wine in the mouth,
how many ways can it be praised? and
how auspicious!—easier to leave the house
he was born in twenty-one years earlier
when drop by drop it taps on every window
calling his name, and out he goes for a walk
(like having a bath sprinkled with Dead
Sea salts, he can’t help but wallow in it)
such a glad soak, hair dripping, shoes
squishing already reaching the corner
and look, the light is with him,
the interminable traffic has stopped,
the next step beckons—that wide avenue
known to swallow a man whole—
now’s when a mother crosses
her fingers—momentum will carry him
curb after curb walking on water like this.
This poem was first published in the Taos Journal of Poetry & Art in 2017 and is included in my chapbook “Irresistible”, forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in March. Copies are available for preorder here.
Thrilled my poem “New House” earned special merit in Comstock Review’s 2017 Muriel Craft Bailey Poetry Contest, judged by Ellen Bass, and now rubs shoulders with the work of poets I’ve long admired! Just got my copy – here’s a pic (it’s a good old-fashioned hold-in-your-hands journal):
Children grown, two out of three gone,
we drag our feet putting outside lights up,
buying and decorating a tree.
We settle for the bushes, a whimsical snaking
of lit Smarties among leaves, get the smallest tree
nobody else wants. That stormy year
our street lost power as Christmas day turned
to evening, and we had a dozen hungry guests
roaming the house, bumping into things.
Because the gas stove had been cooking a turkey
for hours, it continued, and we cheered
the range burners could be lit with a match.
The two gas fireplaces burned more sedately—
fan flow interrupted—and of course there were
candles on the dining room table anyway.
My husband fired up a generator, plugged in
a lamp, stereo and the bulbous bush lights; orange
and yellow cords extended everywhere.
I imagined our neighbours gazing out
from dark windows at the bright cosmos
of our house, the raucous hum of
determination in the air. If Christmas
was all about seeing the light
in each other, it didn’t fail to surprise:
how happy it made me, having a reason
to move closer, peer and be peered at,
glimpse among flickering faces the child
I was before my heart got wrapped in
scar tissue, who once got a letter from Santa
saying he was on his way, and didn’t I
then on the eve of my seventh Christmas
see him tiptoe past my bedroom door!
I miss the girl who believing, saw.
Merry Christmas to you and yours!
Also, my chapbook “Irresistible” is still available for pre-orders until January 12, 2018. Since advance sales determine the pressrun, such purchases make a huge difference! In the mood? Many thanks – you can reserve a copy here: