Numbers Less Than Zero
My father has said few things I remember. Our laughter emptied into
some stormed volt, my head: a menagerie for every Icarus returned
bearing the gift of empty hands and repentance. I imagine the cocking
noise of scalpels falling into metal cans. Thing is: asking for miracles
when the miracle feels like theft. The man never gave what the man
never gave and never mind the logic, the circles it must make. I’ll make
of logic whatever. I’ll make of logic the sky and its mute thunder. I’ll
make the days as my father made the garden. The gardener tending
the vast spaces from headstone to headstone, ringing the Sunday bell.
My father was cloud, was rain, swapping places with the street parking,
encircling the dunes. I remember things but not what my father said.
He said two years. He said cancer. The way death makes sense of
nothing, not even the scattered planes. I remember nothing my father
has said. He’s spoken and I don’t know when to call the priests for their
token of last rites. Unless you want them, mama. I know what you’ve
been that is better, mama. How you were drawn from the farrow by men
in vests begging your bones return the DDT to its caloric laboratory. I
remember the story of us living where the storm lays down its fret, the
former lives of shadows dragging our names through us, our unmake
intoning at the bazaar. I think of nothing my father has said. Think of
us: evergreens, shaking our things, raising drink, raising the unchecked
amen! from the dead.
Canisia Lubrin writes, edits, and teaches. Her work has been published and anthologized internationally, including translations into Spanish and Italian, and forthcoming in German and French. Lubrin’s writing has been nominated for the Toronto Book Award, bp Nichol, Raymond Souster, Journey Prize, Gerald Lampert, Pat Lowther, and others. Her poetry debut, Voodoo Hypothesis (Buckrider Books, 2017) was named a CBC Best Book, and her second poetry book is The Dyzgraphxst (McClelland & Stewart, 2020). 2019 Writer-In-Residence at Queen’s University and poetry faculty for Banff Centre’s 2019 Emerging Writers Intensive, Lubrin holds an MFA from the University of Guelph.
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