About the book
About the author
Emilia Nielsen’s debut collection of poetry, Surge Narrows (Leaf Press, 2013), was a finalist for the League of Canadian Poets’ Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. Her poems have appeared in literary journals across Canada including Descant, The Fiddlehead, Grain, and PRISM international, which nominated her work for a Pushcart Prize. She holds a PhD in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice from the University of British Columbia, a MA in English from the University of New Brunswick and a BFA in Writing from the University of Victoria. Throughout 2017–2018, Emilia was Visiting Scholar at the Canadian Literature Centre at the University of Alberta. In summer 2018, she will join York University as Assistant Professor, Department of Social Science, in the Health & Society Program.
Now, just past solstice,
a minute of each day drops into night, skipped heartbeat.
Down a no exit lane. Roadside
drifts of cottonwood leaves: yellow,
otherworldly. In a neighbour’s pasture
a cross marks something gone. What
do I care? Winter dim, scant
daylight and me impatient.
Get a move on.
Ankles raked a few times. Nothing
that can’t be cleaned up with soap,
vitamin e to prevent a scar. Give up
stuff easily. Just more to pack.
Changed my last name so I’d no longer
be bound. And before bed, blot my face
with lotion. Complicit in erasure.
Long into an argument
that can’t be followed. As if
the furnace’s fan blade has unwound
itself from the bolt and whirls loose around its axle.
If it could be stopped, if we could
hold each other for a moment. One leading the other
outside to the deck, stars pressed against the night like bits of flint—
The dog in the backyard, barking,
hurls herself at a pair of crows.
Charges a bed sheet flapping on the line;
mouths a work glove;
sleeps on the outside doormat
ears pricked for the ticking of a car engine.
Circles the yard;
sky bruises blue.
Cupped in my hands a tough, fragile
thing from a roadside nest of leaves,
still warm and shit-smeared. To take
home, wash, fry in a cast-iron pan.
Delicate blood-scrawl across the albumen—
At the edge
of the logging road nothing
but tall grass, movement,
a shape out of focus
sharpening—a bear cub
on its hind legs sniffing
the wind. Might have been
standing in a patch of sapling alder
coated in dust, or cottoning fireweed,
fur the softness of seed fluff;
might have wailed
showing pink gums and milk teeth
as the car cut into morning.
But it faded back into grass
where it first emerged,
fur licked and glowing.