POETRY: ANNE WALK
SHE CLEARED HER THROAT
and on the other side
of the world the
dolphins swam in
canals and you
could see the bottoms of
the ponds again which
they said were dark for
but it was only a wish
to make our sacrifice
seem bigger than it was
it was only the tears
of the Mother
After studying visual art at the University of Western Ontario, Anne Walk took a long hiatus before embarking on a career in writing. Anne is of mixed heritage, Haudenosaunee (Cayuga) and Hungarian, and is currently living in Guelph, Ontario. She has been published in Room Magazine and Humber Literary Review and has placed in the Humber Literary Review’s 2022 Emerging Fiction Writers contest and the Canadian Authors Association - Toronto’s 2022 Poetry Contest.
POETRY: JENNIFER BOWERING DELISLE
THE HALL LIGHT
My brother was scared with the hall light off, and I
was scared with it on. In those bulbs burned a deadly sun
searing through the ozone hole. Beneath my bed I heard
the gnashing teeth of hungry polar bears. My mother said
be a good big sister, just shut my door if the light was bright.
So I held bake sales for the rainforest. Read books
that warned of Styrofoam cups and aerosol cans
and perfect apples that meant more pesticide.
Poured vinegar on spider plants for the science fair,
experimenting not with acid rain’s effects but how
to make them feel my fear. Liam Johnson drank my vinegar
and I told the teacher what I’d observed
of wilt and consumption.
My son wakes from dreams of wolves, my daughter cries
at paper skeletons hung upon the door. Too young, the Earth
is round, it’s where we live but also spindled ball--there
that’s us, that tiny dot. Where are volcanoes? Penguins?
Where does it never snow? Look, purple boot,
green bean archipelago. And yes, it is fragile,
splits at its equator seam, two cardboard shells.
How much of the ball is blue. For my children’s sake
I buy individually packaged Goldfish crackers. Bananas
all the way from the pink fish that licks Lake Titicaca.
Our destination too far for little legs, perfect apples are abandoned
browning moons on a petrochemical plate.
But someday they’ll understand
we fucked it up for them, for 10 minutes of sleep or quiet,
because I kept all the want of childhood and not enough
belief in my own power. Everyone, now, is scared
and comforted by LED, fast vegan burger, rebate and switch
recycled distraction offsets. Everyone knows
the Arctic ice is tinkling in the bottom of an empty glass.
And I lie in the dark and wish for the hall light,
that old sweet fear.
Green, because the trees. Because the rainforest’s canopy, light as long as history. Because the
vine, the moss, the Honduran brook frog. But it could have easily been go blue. For clean sky,
ocean swaddle. The whales. The rainy day, minor sax notes of loss. O don’t let this love end.
Can’t go on livin’ without you. Ten years, they say, to save our worlds. The ones that quiver on
the surface of this sphere, the one of fingers sliding on guitar strings, of cotton sundress, white
lines of novel spine, the one in which my daughter’s hair is fine as dandelion spun to seed, and
she turns on water just to make a rainbow in the spray. So go blue, go green, go kelly, go sage.
Go green with envy of the ones still in denial. Go to the dark-veined forest. Go rogue, go feral.
Because the fern, because the kakapo parrot. And when the sky is green from fire, go to the ends
of Earth, with rinsed out soup cans and plastic made of corn. And if you don’t believe that this is
what it takes, let’s find a way to mix the ocean with the sun.
Originally published in Deriving, University of Alberta Press 2021
Jennifer Bowering Delisle is the author of Deriving (2021) and The Bosun Chair (2017). Her collection of essays, Micrographia, is forthcoming in 2023. She regularly teaches creative writing and is a board member of NeWest Press. She is a settler in Amiskwaciwâskahikan/Edmonton in Treaty 6. Find her online at www.jenniferdelisle.ca and @jenbdelisle.
POETRY: RICHARD-YVES SITOSKI
Here contains all we need, said the ice to the stream,
which recalls evaporation as a form of estivating.
On a tree trunk a nuthatch reorients the world or itself,
I cannot tell. But something is upside-down
and I want to spread-eagle on the ground
like shot when playing cops and robbers.
Snowfall is all the beauty I permit myself.
It is light and shows no regret though it’s 130 days
till the start of summer, when there will be monarchs
and we will tell ourselves, without irony, that one butterfly
is silent but a forest’s worth can drown out a chainsaw.
Richard-Yves Sitoski (he/him) is a songwriter, performance poet, and the 2019-2023 Poet Laureate of Owen Sound, Ontario, on the territory of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation. He is also the Artistic Director of the Words Aloud festival. His work has appeared in Prairie Fire, Train, The Fiddlehead, Bywords.ca, and elsewhere. He has given performances in industrial ruins, has composed a chapbook in collaboration with earth worms, and has written verse on snow with biodegradable dye. 2018 finalist and semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Competition, 2021 John Newlove Award winner, 2021 Best of the Net nominee. No Sleep ‘til Eden (Ginger Press, 2020), an augmented reality collection of poems on the environment. Co-editor, with Penn Kemp, of Poems in Response to Peril: An Anthology in Support of Ukraine (Pendas Productions/Laughing Raven Press, 2021), profits from which will go to PEN Ukraine. Forthcoming chapbook: How to Be Human, from Bywords.ca
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