Garth Martens

Garth Martens – LEATHERING



He travels north from camp to camp,
trailers on dunnage, gravel,
rusted barrels and stacked wood,

tents where men dream cement,
its consistency, its price,
the length of its fix.

He forgets his reasons, his debts, his wife,
works a ditch or drives a spike.
There is a stone in his wrist.

He craves the cracked up moon, the lake,
a place on the mud bank to shout, to drink,
to fuck under the stars.

He’d like a newer pouch, tools with clean
teeth, straight lines to gouge
geometry in peat, a level he can trust.

Mosquitoes have eaten his skin.
His thumb is black. Clouds
fatten through the west.

What lasts is law: that axis breaks
on axis, rain on rain.
If he could reach, he’d pull

every twisted star with a hammer.


Garth Martens won the 2011 Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. His first book Prologue for the Age of Consequence (Anansi, 2014) was a Finalist for the Governor General’s Award in Poetry. For nine years throughout northern Alberta and interior British Columbia he has worked in large-scale commercial construction. His poems have appeared in publications like Poetry Ireland ReviewHazlittThis MagazineVallumFiddleheadPrism, and Best Canadian Poetry in English 2014. In the spring of 2014, in collaboration with Alma de España Flamenco Dance Company, he wrote and performed the libretto for Pasajes, an international production. He lives in Victoria.


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