Michael Quilty image


(or “Back Way To The Mental Hospital”)

Haphazardness with uncertain quirks. The last
main corner juxtaposes a junkyard. Psychiatrists
never follow a script, what you feel is
tolerable. The obvious route has padding
that stops mid-air. Every change conveys ability,
impromptu symmetry. If you jump you’ll feel it later—
your sunken body escaping a ravine. Who graded
Overhead Bridge Road? Any permanent whim
can be broken but the significance of self-annihilation,
explicit. Here’s a form for staying
reasonably cool—checkbox for the wreckage
of a crooked signature; your identity abandoned,
asylum complete.


Michael Quilty lives in the shade near Georgian Bay, where talking points & shoulder taps routinely disturb daydreams. His poetry spontaneously delights journals. The poem included here is part of a disjointed but contiguous series taken from a manuscript titled, Portrait Of A Head Shot. “Concussion 1”, originally published in PRISM international (issue 51.1), also appears in the anthology Best Canadian Poetry in English 2013 (Tightrope Books).


To view other poems published in this issue please visit Vallum’s website.