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As Unnoticed As Possible

— for Lucy, our original mother


There’s almost always
two of them: mother

and (or mother with)
her child up against             

a tilting shoulder, a breast
about to tire     and four
                  each gathering
                    its own task
                    each finger
                an annunciation
                      of trust. Care. And this particular pair, an almost

young Australopithecus looking faraway down
into the distance yet beneath and between us, her

offspring, a toddler mesmerized by something
looming behind what’s already here,
this ancestral pair—the colour
of sun-tape over shadow—is
factory-made from plastic, is
from the gasoline haze
from the gasoline haze
the toy city, an unforeseen cosmopolis done in
by polymers, some in the neonatal
intensive care unit, and others inside
our luminous and ever-improving tooth paste. River run, an infinite

regress of bodies ↔ these Instagram islands:
a floating montage from me    across to you     from
that jet trail passing instantly    to itinerant sea star to

whatever gods hummingbirds once knew, the telepathic and invisible
ones, she’s anxious       for me to learn      panic being
something     we both know.


michaeltrusslerMichael Trussler has published poetry, short stories, and creative non-fiction. His short story collection, Encounters, won the Book of the Year Award from the Saskatchewan Book Awards in 2006. His collection of poetry, Accidental Animals, was short-listed for the same award in 2007. JackPine Press published A Homemade Life, an experimental chapbook blending photographs and text in 2009. The Alfred Gustav Press published the chapbook, Melancholy Girls with Sitar, in 2020. He teaches English at the University of Regina.


Annual Award Final1This poem was published in the digital edition of Vallum issue 18:1, Invisibility. Available to purchase through our website

The Vallum Award for Poetry 2021 is now open for submissions! Check out the entry requirements on our website and submit your work to be one of our next winners!