earliest.

they built the wall slowly: one foot
at a time, leaving space around frames
for windows
and doors,
spaces to enter, or leave;

walls built of stone, meeting
at corners, spaces to one
day grow dust –

and what is your home
if not for your dust –

we all have our earliest
moments.

walls built, eventually climbing,
climbing until shuttered by rafters,
by shingles and snow.

now it is later; the trees in the yard
have matured and the house
won’t hold heat

and still there is warmth in the earliest
walls: first corners and stones, those
which eventually sink, every year,

inch by inch back to the earth

smother.

napowrimo #4

I.

we are face to face in the
elevator. weird, because no one
stands face to face in an elevator.

in another you held
my son, kissing his face, i
was kissing your face. now we
can’t speak. the words are
unholy, and besides,
they’re not there.

II.

sheer fabrics do more than let in the
light. we hang curtains, i pick
patterns for bed skirts,
you pay at the
register.

III.

you press every button
to keep me. the fabrics,
you say, can smother us too.

house.

there is a spoon in my house that isn’t really a spoon at all. it isn’t mine; it was just here when i moved in & probably belongs to my roommate.

anyway the spoon is mostly flat. it still functions and everything. i don’t use spoons very often but it will hold my cheerios or my coffee if it has to. it’s slightly awkward but at least it functions. it just isn’t really a spoon.

and it’s christmas now, and it isn’t like last christmas. last year i had an apartment with a boyfriend and a christmas tree and coloured lights in the windows. everyone’s gifts were wrapped weeks ahead of time. we made hot chocolate and bought candy canes and put cards in the christmas tree. i made new friends and plans to spend my holiday with them. i ended up getting sick and spending three days alone on the couch with no one to help me feel better. it was a sign, of course.

this year i bought half my gifts at gas stations on my way back to hamilton. i didn’t take any time off. everything is simple. i don’t have any loyalties or promises or responsibilities. i have my neighbour feeding my fish, who are my best friends now. i don’t have any reminders of any of the people who have come and vanished from my life between last christmas and this one. except a slinky on my shelf, because it’s cool. i miss them all the time and try to convince myself at least once a day that i don’t because i can’t, i can’t miss anything because it is giving a part of myself away, because i have tough skin, because that layer of skin is strong but thin. and of course i don’t care. i just eat cheerios and drink beer and wear comfort sweaters and pretend.

so this christmas is christmas, again. and it’s all scattered and fucked up and different, but it’s the way it should be. last year i was too prepared. trying too hard for something i didn’t really want. and so i got sick. and another year over and a new one just begun. and my heart and my head are still exactly where they were last year. and i don’t mind and won’t apologize (to myself).

and it’s like a flat spoon in the drawer.
it shouldn’t work but it does.

merry christmas friends.

an arm.

every living thing comes
full circle, and stops to eat
out of our garbage

obsessed about the frame
around the window
we took out all the nails, a pillow
for a plate of glass just like an arm,
for underneath my neck at night

the open hole for gardening,
for watching and unlocking
words we never said

underneath the moon
he breaks a bottle on his foot

i continue digging,
preparing for the dawn

later published in in/words magazine 11.1 (winter 2012).

frame.

in a frame on my desk
you’re drinking
from a forty ounce
bottle of unrealistically bad
beer, you are the only one
(looking into the camera)
and the glass is heavy

her torn tradition built,
rebuilt itself two hours south
of tag-lined borders,
circling shores of lakes

in an alley in toronto in
the sprawling dusk
defense was
in each other only, a ship
derailed continues
sailing on