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Poet Carla Barkman

Carla Barkman – Last Evening I Stumbled


Last Evening I Stumbled

Last evening I stumbled 
past smokers in doorways 
of boarding houses, 
ex-sailors’ rooming houses 
beside the inland sea, 
& up the gravel road again 
towards the lighthouse poised 
between two harbours 
now its panning light engulfed 
by Christmas strings of orange 
& white, & sat still 
on a Muskoka chair, 
its pair beside me empty 
thinking—I should smoke 
& reference you—but rather 
just sat still, my boots & cushioned legs 
in a feather bed of snow, 
& pointed out the constellations 
that I knew: Orion’s belt, 
Big Dipper & way up there 
the Little Dipper tinier than I recalled 
& the waves dark blue 
& the ships’ bells 
& the light swooping round 
over my silent hill, 
not stretching out my arms 
to make snow angels, 
not speaking or listening, 
turning or even picturing you 
in that white wooden chair.


Carla Barkman graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 1999 with an MD and BSc (Med). She completed a residency at the University of Manitoba in 2002, and has since practiced family medicine in northwestern Ontario and Saskatchewan. Her poetry has been published in Grain, CV2 and other journals, and in Groundswell: the best of above/ground press 1993-2003, under the name Carla Milo. Several of her poems recently appeared in ditch, an online journal.


Carla Barkman was the second place contest winner for the Vallum Award for Poetry 2014. Don’t miss your chance to enter the Vallum Award for Poetry 2015, DEADLINE JULY 15th. For details, please visit our website here: