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Fetishes of the Floating World

we're all slaves to something for me it's
that whitetail standing motionless on the shore
saint of the held breath saint of the afterimage
and just behind him the unborn resettled
tucked in beneath dogwoods with their milk
teeth jewelling down their spines
hearing only the atonal gossip
of the untranslatable
sighs and cries from the edges of things.
--from "Field Notes"

A Fox-Shaped Absence

now I stand where you once lived I stepped
through slant light of the fading day and found
your home among fallen feathers and dried stalks
of goldenrod here you began the infinitesimal
sloughing off of memory and started to erase
your secret names here beetles now move
among your bones trilling quietly to themselves
here your every thought was a shiver of silence
up the spine and your last breath created
a fox-shaped absence in the world here on your
last night you ended your light-sensitive dialogue
with the moon while the blood-coloured
maple leaves fell on the golden ones
and the underworld felt the crushing weight.

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Dream of No One but Myself

Fight Calendar

Fruit of the ocean month. Fight about the library. Feculents. Closing soon. Asking about the computer. Ecreamed milk. Explosion. Fight about seeing each other. Herring, mackerel, and salmon. Only 30 minutes. Fight about language. Sardines and melon. Fight about badminton. Dill shrimp. David not understanding the thing about badminton. Fight about the garbage. The bed of rice, low-fat feta, cantaloupe wedges. Chicane (fight) about chocolate. Spicy French toast. The school's funding drive. Let rest. Fight about Liar, Liar. Grams of fat. At Video Plus. Fight in front of Eaton's. Grease holder, parcoured distance. About her not wanting to wait 45 minutes until it opens. A little extra. Fight about David's homework. Pie plate. David's sleeping bag. Thick tranches. About David asking how to save a file. Blank tuna. About his school bag, vegetables, etc. Zest, vanilla and muscade. Night fights about his apple (heart). Broccoli quiche sans pâte. About yelling. Little bouquets. Fights about mentioning there's snow again. The night before. And about snow on the ground, surprise, in the morning. A fine paste. Fight about the gas. Margarine. Fight about parquet for the office. A half-moon of Boston. And cheapness. Fight about blaming. Real parmesan cheese. David and language. Three-herb. All our problems. The walking away. The folding. Fight about the chicken again.

About a year removed from him, sunk into the decades-old, formless sofa, in front of Dawson's Creek with my mother, outcast but by design, I tell her what it is and I beg for meds.
I tell her there's nothing else I can do right now. Just TV and French YA crap. She can't imagine it won't pass.

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Why I Was Late


Trans is waiting for your name to get called,
while the teams go ahead
and play the game on top of you.

Genderfluid is the shiny new car
that your parents think is a wreck
and will never let out of the driveway.

Non-Binary is rehearsing how to exit the bathroom stall
in a way that will get you past the four men surrounding it,
but not incite their violence.

Gender non-conforming is running up to cis people, asking
"Is this how you felt in your skin this whole time?"
while they stare at your high five until your arm withers.

Transmasculine is walking well behind women
so they don't get worried, while evading men
who follow you too closely.

Fluidity is taking out the pin
from the "how can I help you?" grenade
and hearing the answer click on retail floors.

Coming out is revisiting the library in your brain,
and closing so many books that had remained open
waiting for answers.

Trans is whispering to your child self,
"I'm so sorry I didn't listen to you
let's give you the life you deserve."



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also available: Paperback
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A child gathers answers

Sixty-Three Green Circle Melrose one–one seven five two my locational numbers plus one baby sister for free a mother for safety and a blue car for long drives and one father at work leaving in the blue car morning a Dodge as well as dodge ball and hopscotch skipping ropes skipping Hopalong Cassidy how about a date meet you at the corner at half-past eight in the street stando yelling stando against a brick wall roller skates hide-and-go-seek answers in school also the pressure cooker beef stew steamed lemon pudding the creek behind McTavish’s house up-on-the-hill train tracks which a child cannot walk near the golf course where toboggans in winter and brown strap-on rubber boots in the spring saddle shoes tap shoes toe shoes white bucks Pat Boone gumshoe Nancy Drew rubber soles and cartwheels and handstands though at night devils clawed the closet and snakes rustled under the bed despite now I lay me down to red rover red rover Red River coats and red Red River mittens grade one grade two grade three a party line a best friend.

A woman questions

How does the leaf know how does Turkish Finnish Kurdish French where do numbers whence negative why and whence zero is it fact or concept how instinct neurons for instance quarks cockroaches rats for instance mirrors mirror cells the Mariana Trench how many creatures will never be seen soufflés pavlova pavlovae how cells know how on earth friends the cosmos how far back where did she go what means without any start missing and end without end without start quantum physics theoretical higher math mathematics how the big bang string theory the Cern Cyclotron Stephen Hawking how does a friend falling off with Einstein altogether the Earth why and which equations and how mainly from where.


In the inside there is deluge, in the outside there is missing. Somewhere is refuge. Quickening. Listen. Let is-ness then be the business, let mothers into story if only for a few more years. If quickening, there may be answers, whistle, wind, chance literation, chance marriages, misfits, chance the first chance, do not reprove the child asking awkward questions. Let blue angora mittens, a black cat, second fiddle. There is a second layer, liar, liar, pants on fire. Never mind, there is always porridge with a sift of salt and garbage bins under the sink whispering misery in an off-key pitch. Cinch your belts, no one here is as rich as you may wish. Hey diddle, diddle, kit and kaboodle, cows, spoons, a cat in a fix. In the inside there are two. In the outside, there is one and one sitting, unseeing what will be missing. Heaven whistles by in its finite fevered way, tin whistle stops and lingerie, saxifrage and lingering, and tips. Q-tips. Second storey is higher than first, pinch me if I’m wrong, never mind, the second story is typically too blue, too long.


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also available: Paperback
More Info


Would I have seen her?

The tide tugging her gently past
the Comfort Inn; houses, tall and gabled,
the bridge and its passersby.
This is not a hidden place.

The graze and drag of her,
clumsy, obstructive in the divided
caress of eelgrass.

No search. Eight days.
the moon returned, made chalk tracings around her shape.


Seaweed, filth, mud

I have

a white linoleum floor,
and the floor was clean,
there wasn’t any mud on it,

said Kelly’s mother, testifying
in her daughter’s defense.

(As I would, as I would
want to)

The Gorge, by Craigflower Bridge,
she said, full
of seaweed and filth and mud,

her daughter’s skin

clean, white.

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Burning in This Midnight Dream

aniskostew – connecting

I cannot say for sure what happened
to my mother and father.
The story said,
she went to St. Anthony's Residential School
and he went to Blue Quills.
They slept on straw mattresses and
attended classes for half a day.
Mother worked as a seamstress,
a kitchen helper, a dining room servant,
or labored in the laundry room.
Father carried feed for the pigs,
cut hay for the cattle and
toiled in the massive garden.

That little story is bigger than I can tell.

Dedication to the Seventh Generation

ôta ka-wîhtamâtin âcimisowin
I will share these stories
but I will not share
those from which I will never crawl.
It is best that way.
I forget to laugh sometimes,
though in these forty years
my life has been filled
with towering mornings,
northern lights.
Sit by the kotawân – the fire place.
Drink muskeg and mint tea.
Hold your soul
but do not weep.
Not for me, not for you.
Weep for those who haven’t yet sung.
Weep for those who will never sing.

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