Our street is an open gash, old plumbing exposed. New city pipes,
like burlapped trees
laid out on the curb to be planted. Pipes so wide I could climb into each one
and build me a nest of hollow concrete. In there it would be quiet.
A digger is idle, a mountain of gravel will refill the hole come summer.
For now, a layer of snow interrupts the traffic cones and springtime work,
the shallow pit calling for snow angels, or local wound exploration.
All around are detours and railings, orange signs that warn against bridging
the gulf between this corner and the next. Pedestrians stare down into the
drop off, and
picture all the cavities beneath a city, if anything can heal us from collapse.
Finally the hoses are aligned—a tap in front of every house. Our valve is left
and water explodes over fences, spraying slush, threatening to drown the
If April rains enough, melts it all down, I will learn to swim the canyon to
cross our street.
For now, I think of the ambulance stuck at the intersection. What is your
Our road cannot be sutured, we are stranded, awaiting technicians.
Esmé Pine holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from Concordia, where she minored in Art History. She is partway through a Zoom version of the Master’s in Teaching and Learning program at McGill. She was once an intern at Vallum and is thrilled to have this poem featured on the blog. She is a settler born and raised in Tiohtià:ke (Montreal)
To view other content published in this issue, 17:1 “HOME”, please visit Vallum’s website.
Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE! Visit our website for details.