rsz_1rsz_dee-4-of-6_by_shelley_banks_1

 

Communication

1. One minute I execute the perfect
dive through the flames
of a burning hoop. The next, I’m jaw-to-jaw
with a tiger, orange smoke and charcoal
looking for an excuse to ignite.

A swan of a long walk, peaceful dust,
tracks to the veldt’s next town, breathing
the giraffe’s tall air. Along the way, kneel
close to the riverbank’s mud,
translate the hieroglyphics embedded there–
hippos’ fat footprints, the scrape and sing of a flamingo’s wings.

Trust ink and pencil to decipher their songs.
The Andalusians, in love with their galloping horses,
the Spanish, their aching duende, Portuguese fado.
Cousins, drink from the same stream.
My heart slides in, annealed.

2. A mother knows. Practicality is her favourite button-
down sweater, how her hands make sense
of the thread of things, the pulls of warp and weft,
the many pedals of the loom.

She might be magpie, drawn to shot-gold thread,
she looks for silk, not tweed. But she knows
what’s best, to shear and card and spin.
Dye it, weave it, unfold a tartan for her boys.
Next day she’ll make an entire bolt from scratch.

3. She’d blossom with my silver rope,
transformation spun from my horn
into her empty spaces. I fill her

with imaginings — how a girl breathes —
a little glitter, faery dust
like the shimmer of my hooves–beauty
she doesn’t know yet. Her kindness could kill her.

She’s the spell caster in a cloak of stars,
weaving legends with birch bark and aspen shadows,
part Diana’s daughter, part Irish sidhe,
who arrives by standing still.

dee hobsbawn-smith’s poetry, essays, fiction and journalism has appeared in literary journals and anthologies in Canada, the USA and Scotland. A retired chef and former restaurateur, she lives west of Saskatoon, and earned her MFA in Writing at the University of Saskatchewan. In 2015-16, she served as the Saskatoon Public Library’s 35th Writer in Residence. Her first collection of poetry, Wildness Rushing In (Hagios, 2014) was shortlisted for Book of the Year and Best Poetry Collection at the Saskatchewan Book Awards. It was followed by her first short fiction collection, What Can’t Be Undone (Thistledown, 2015.) Foodshed: An Edible Albert Alphabet (Touchwood, 2012) won three international awards for its unflinching examination of the politics and challenges of small-scale sustainable food production. At present, she is working on a chapbook poetry proposal, her debut novel, an essay collection, and new poetry. Most recently, she has contributed to the SK poetry anthology, Line Dance (Burton Books, 2016), edited by Gerald Hill, and was part of a contingent of Canadian poets who read at The Bowery Poetry Club in New York City. www.deehobsbawnsmith.com

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

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