Kate Balfour

Low dirt path parts Loch Awe as a helix unbinding.
We walk like thistled mutants to Kilchurn ruins.
Us more ice and pine sap than salt or lanolin, but whisky,
yes, floating up as metal staircases implanted in stone—
girdled by water, death, or summer vacations. To keep
in with a family requires some line of defense

and ours could be drinking and the defense
thereof. We will not find Scotland in hydrogen bonds.
We ascend what we call the keep.
Awe on all four sides and, peripherally, ruined
corners. All sprouted and balanced from fieldstone.
We drink whisky.

We find cheap flights and transcribe and drink whisky.
We are uniquely capable of superimposition, we dispense
ourselves like unreadable text across great rooms of stone.
Charm never got us anywhere but poor and bound up
in anonymous country and small ruinous
towns—at least, these are the records we’ve kept.

Anyway, with most of that self-indulged keeping
lost to shame in locked wards or foreign deserts or whisky,
standing on ruins
to look at green pastures and fencing
is a too-tempting exercise bound
in metaphor. Sightless as stone,

wordless as stone.
Similarities, even running anti-parallel, keep
us in replicable realms. Evenly bound
to whatever phone call or whiskied
tense getaway. The poor defense
of ancestral ruin

as the nucleus of our rental car. Humans
subsuming stone—
our mouths that dense.
Or, when we can’t keep
up the whisky,
we are unbound


Kate Balfour is a fiction writer and poet from the Okanagan Valley. She is a graduate of the University of Victoria’s creative writing program. Her work has appeared in BALDHIP magazine. She lives in Vancouver, B.C.

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    Jennifer Amos, Fenn Archdekin-Leung, Jenn Ashton, Jamelie Bachaalani, Colleen Baran, Jenny Bartoy, Alexandra Chang, Kristina Corre, Maggie de Vries, Shirley Harshenin, Jia Hwang, Sharon Jinkerson-Brass, Elizabeth Johnston, Tamara Jong, Manal Kamran, Carrianne Leung, Lily Leung, Mary MacDonald, Alissa McArthur, Cosi Nayovitz, Margaret Nowaczyk, Deanna Partridge-David, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Rebekah Rempel