Silverton, July 2007

This poem won Third place in 2-Day Poem Contest 2020

Borrowed summerhouse, lethargy heavy
in the rooms: a wall of rusted saws, a
paperback on every surface, bin of silk
scarves at the entrance to be worn, where?
Town the size of a minuet, miners’
relics arranged on sun-singed lawns,
ancient as sturgeon that brush
the bottom of Slocan Lake.

Neighbour across the lane paid
you when you were younger, shirtless and
wheat-blonde, to spray vinegar
on dandelions surging through concrete.
He cultivated foxgloves, prolific
and eggplant-hued, confessed to bootlegging
seeds, harvested from the gardens of great
houses left empty by Albertans.

Twelve, thin as a blade, seated
behind your mother in the double
scull. Bow sliced through muscle
of water. You fought to mimic
her movements—feather, square, catch.
Drive, recovery, repeat.

Callouses layered between
thumb and forefinger, blisters
opened in the long evenings as
you sat on the bathmat and sanded
the cracked carapace of your mother’s heels.

Her body, a prediction of your own—pubic hair
like lichen, whisper of cesarean scar,
stomach flat as a stone at Garland Bay.

Bruised nights, you pressed on nipples
hard as peony buds, forcing themselves
through the soil of your chest.
You held your body together,
stretched in four directions—
lines that refused to intersect,
an unresolved octothorpe of


You walk that rented house in dreams
now, sneak up on the peristeronic
creature, flaxen and waiflike,
in the front room, wall of old clocks
tick ticking,
on her tip toes, arms spread
against the window

overlooking water—
wings caught in the updraft of
old glacial winds.