Poetry

74

In memoriam Tennyson said
Nine years of things about his friend
Who’d died. He brought him back by slow
Degrees, from sunsets, wind in the trees,

We met at a birthday party. You were the only rum drinker in the room. On the couch, Al Purdy was going on about the stunted trees in the Arctic.

M sent me a photograph by Daguerre. It is of the first human being to be photographed.

he traces the tattoo
of Africa on my back
tells me how he wants
to go back to Sierra Leone

A pinhole projects
the moon topping the sun
onto Portia’s palm

“A ballad for messy brown girls” is the honourable mention of Room’s Poetry and Fiction Contest 2018 as selected by judge Vivek Shraya.

Aunt: f. from the Latin amita 1. small creatures that can carry more than their share 1.2 stand-in mothers (who can’t hold seventeen hours of labour over you) 2. photo filler used for major childhood moments: christenings, communions, etc. 3. antonym ex-aunts: members of the family easily erased by divorce

Strip the skin off my body and hold
me tight. Take this ugly brown shell, burn
scar, thrown to sea. Let waves batter
me against rocks, shark teeth ravage carcass,
oil spill on pale water.

we sit
the two of us
you face the tv

your lips they twist
perceptions in an instant.

Our 2017 Poetry Contest Honourable Mention.

She built a tower for herself. What a waste
of sand, they all thought, and to not lower
her hair down—who waits, in a desert, to be overcome

—not part of me. She makes up games
like Quidditch and plays with me.
Body throws me down

If our gratitude dries parched, we think nothing of        water

If our tongues shrink, we  think of nothing       but water

nothing of water; foresight        shortened

dry, memory of                           these -dry -days

Abattoirs, Abortuaries, and America (HOO-RAH)

Bleach and Beer-Batters, Batman!

Camaro . . . Catchphrases . . . Catachresis . . .

Donkey-sauce; Donkey-sauce; Donkey-sauce

Our 2017 Short Forms Contest Honourable Mention.

Every night, you sleep on my neck.
Contentment seeps through our chakras.

Low dirt path parts Loch Awe as a helix unbinding.
We walk like thistled mutants to Kilchurn ruins.

. . . I found a pair of velvet-coated antlers,
three fingers reaching from an open palm
still throbbing with platelet’s hot breath

Hold a winesap apple to your brow and think of the worst possible outcome.
Or has the worst already happened? How do you define cataclysm?

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