Poem Posted August 2008

Posted: August 24, 2008 in Samples of My Writing

This poem is from my New and Selected called Wrapped Within Again

Grace Period

The young woman on TV has a crater

the shape of a bar of soap in her left arm.

She droops the arm over the stove cooking

some sausages, her open wound glistens.

She is a junkie living in Vancouver.

As I watch her I see that for some of us

breathing can’t fall away to meaning,

that some lives drain to a false shadow.

Her apartment walls are sticky and damp.

As she walks around it,

the camera greedily takes stock

washing it all to a grainy green and grey.

I can’t tell what colour her hair is nor her eyes

nor can I take my gaze away from the wound on her arm,

troubled by how little her body means to her.

There is no grace period for her, harmed by a parting.

Death grasps her arm,

rots a gouge clear to the buried bone.

Still she shakes the pan with her good arm

as the other dangles over the stove,

the flesh sliding from bone.

Like her, we wake in lives wounded or born out of love

and undo it all one nightmare at a time.

She is barely twenty, a body ruined by junk.

I want to scream until I break through

all this fishing in bodies

for a love lost in the thickness of flesh.

She can’t stop picking at the wound

formed by all that festers inside her.

She talks just like my own daughter

still tentative with adults

answering each question as if she might be sent to bed.

Her life is glimpsed for a second or two then gone

ruled by the flutter of light inside glass.

I never get to her life,

not a sliver of it here, nothing more

than that hole in her arm and how the camera

stays on it a little too long, in disbelief,

fixes on the wound before moving to her face.

She talks to someone behind the camera

about the wound, explains it

like a child does something they’ve done wrong.

I pull away to my own feet resting on the footstool

and the safety of my life.

I know she’s out there, not just lost

in the rewound film,

but cooking sausages

like I do some mornings.


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