Why I Write
In the forest, we were not able to see the trees.
My teacher put them in his suitcase
and walked into the night.
When he got to the edge of the world
he turned and pulled up the road
cracking it once, like a sheet or a whip.
He held it under his chin and folded it right.
I pointed. This is the way out of here
but there were no roads.
I pointed. This is our forest.
but there was nothing.
The crickets said something I will not repeat
Six jewelled piglets lapped droplets off my brow.
Seven naked swallows brushed their wings against my shadows.
Trees are silent, cotton, and easy to launder.
Gary Barwin is a writer, composer, multidisciplinary artist, and the author of 20 books of poetry and fiction as well as books for kids. His recent fiction includes the national bestseller, Yiddish for Pirates (Random House Canada), and I, Dr. Greenblatt, Orthodontist, 251-1457 (Anvil). A new poetry collection, No TV for Woodpeckers (Wolsak and Wynn) will appear in 2017. A PhD in music composition, Barwin has been Writer-in-Residence at Western University and the Toronto Public Library Young Voices eWriter-in-residence. Three-time recipient of Hamilton Poetry Book of the Year, he has also received the Hamilton Arts Award for Literature and co-won the bpNichol Chapbook Award and the K.M. Hunter Arts Award. He has taught creative writing at a number of colleges and universities. He is writer-in-residence at several shelters/custody facilities with ArtForms’ “Writers in the House” program for at-risk youth. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario.
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