, , ,


windowless   the rain mourns

black cabs on the highway 

speed by   empty buses  

passengers thinned like   weeds

no one stops   speaking into tunnels 

of phones searching   voices for faces  

wind gleans the alleyways   recycling

joggers jog   in place

gloves   discarded   fall 

like broken   geese   home    

on their journey   this spring 

but the season is   off

we are waiting for a sign   hands tied   

touching faces   with sleeves    

downtown the buildings rise   deserted   

white tombs   cell blocks   

some lean into their love   stare 

into the eyes’ great plain and wonder

some take quiet   sips of air

stillness fallen on rage 

some wander the streets   bewildered

everyone shuttling by

nothing to eat   no one to ask

pigeons fly   in a circle on St. Viateur   land  

the geese are coming   home 

sun warming   the earth

we are sheltering   this spring   caesura

circling each other   warily

trying to settle   somewhere

trying to land more softly

    —Montreal, April 2020


Kelly Norah Drukker is a Montreal-based poet, nonfiction writer, and interdisciplinary scholar. Her first collection of poems, Small Fires (MQUP) won the A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry and the Concordia University First Book Prize, and was a finalist for the Grand Prix du livre de Montréal. Petits feux, a French-language translation by Lori Saint-Martin and Paul Gagné, was published by Le lézard amoureux in 2018. Kelly’s poetry and non-fiction have appeared in Canada and abroad, in journals such as VallumThe Malahat Reviewcarte blancheThe GooseContemporary Verse 2enRoute MagazineThe SHOp (Ireland), Poetry New Zealand, and Rabbit: A Journal for Nonfiction Poetry (Australia). Kelly has taken part in numerous solo and collaborative readings, and has performed her work in English and in French across eastern Canada, and in Ireland and Australia. Most recently, her nonfiction was a finalist for the 3Macs carte blanche Prize.  

Kelly holds a Master’s degree in English and Creative Writing from Concordia University. She is currently pursuing her interests in Irish Studies, Oral History, Memory Studies, and Creative Writing through Concordia’s Humanities PhD program.

This poem was originally published in Vallum issue 17:2. To view other content published in this issue, look here.

Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE! Visit our website for details.