Excerpt from Animal Bridegroom, “The Burning Woman”

The Burning Woman

You can hear her pale voice
from within the conflagration.
It always speaks truth.
It always lies.
She cackles like marrow-bone
when she walks.
Her eyes and mouth are open
and burn like magnesium.
She is a contrary Gorgon;
everything she looks at
is forced into frenzied life.
If you are very lucky
and can run after her
until she catches you,
you can put her in a canning jar
to hold in the air:

ablaze of fireflies
to light the darkness.

For more information about The Animal Bridegroom or to purchase the book, please click here.

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Excerpt from Bone Dream, “The Haptic Sensibility”

The Haptic Sensibility

A dream site where a heart beats
Beneath the rattle of parched leaves.

After Cupid, Psyche begins to grind
the left-over mice bones of her dreams:
from chip to dust, from done to undone
a small pyramid of gray loam forming
heavier than a moor fog, finer than shaved nutmeg.
Her fingertips meld tears and dust into a small basin:

…while Aphrodite, her none too happy
mother-in-law, readies herself for cocktails…

That night, Psyche empties herself of regret.
The basin’s clear as the Aegean.
She drapes the skeletal sapling of her boy-soul
over the sea, securing him with strands
of her strawberry hair to create a bridge
his battered sternum the platform from which she dives
God’s crushing ache in creating paradise.

For more information about Bone Dream or to purchase a copy, please click here.

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Excerpt from Eating Fruit Out of Season, “Cottage Road”

Cottage Road

Up near the August cottage, fences separate
the farms, keep livestock from wandering.

I sometimes drive these dirt roads,
the lake disappearing from view,

parents on porches drinking lemonade.
I remember the feeling of drifting home

after witnessing a barn float away
on the mirage of grass, the sky swallowing birds,

and the excitement of a child who wanted
to follow every road to it’s conclusion.

These dirt roads criss-cross every once in a while,
and I notice childhood on clotheslines,

the smell of dirt and rock stirred up,
and the black and white of cows.

For more information about Eating Fruit Out of Season or to purchase the book, please click here.

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Excerpt from Iron-on Constellations, “What I Learned Growing Up in Parkdale”

What I learned growing up in Parkdale

Cars never stop for pedestrians
Kids should buy cigarettes in ones, it’s cheaper
Lake Ontario was once clean enough to swim in
Cadillacs invariably carry pimps
You can’t find parking on Sundays Continue reading

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Excerpt from Manual for Emigrants, “Faces”


You have a new face.

Living a life needs familiar faces, the faces of your family, of your friends.

I don’t recognize your face.

Or your family. Or your friends.

Somewhere down the line you chose the wrong mask.

Turn you face to the wall; show us the blank back of the head.

Blankness is something we recognize.

For more information about Manual for Emigrants or to purchase the book, please click here.

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Excerpt from Open Slowly, “She Seeks Beauty”

She Seeks Beauty

She seeks beauty everywhere
foraging for flowers in fog
as the metallic din of machinery bordering
the park clangs and disturbs—she dislikes
comments we make about the weight of bulbs
all they have to do is sit, look pretty, and breathe
in truth, they’re fibrous, sturdy, necessary for life.

She’s culpable as any, flesh covers bone
like a clenched fist
taut in sections, ample in others
the weight of water and salt,
breath noxious

she tells us flowers deceive like a woman
warns us to watch out for the men hiding behind them

they cast shadows on sun
etch their place
on earth, bodies pyramids
of accomplishment.

While we sit pretty and still, necessary.

For more information about Open Slowly or to purchase the book, please click here.

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Excerpt from The Grammar of Distance, “Music of a Walk Through Leaves”

Music of a Walk Through Leaves

We’d walk home from school through fallen leaves,
hand in hand, the girl whose family owned the dairy.
She took piano lessons and sang in the choir.
She could raise a spring day with her song.
Sing the losses in me. Re-tune the world.

Since stepping ashore from the ship that
sometimes fuelled my dwindling dreams,
carrying my diminished life in a backpack,
providing my own running commentary to fill the silence,
I’ve revisited our walk over the years since she left,
trying to find the music of those leaves.
No trace, a random arrangement of notes.

Picture a grown man on leave from his senses,
testing his iron will, the thrust of his hands
through dead duff. Off in the harbour distance,
beyond arm’s length, the ship’s blasting horn,
if you see what I mean.

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“Oceanus Procellarum”, excerpted from Monster, by David Livingstone Clink

Oceanus Procellarum

Stories are handed down
about the first shapeshifters,

how they became the sky, earth, moon, stars,
the rain that collects in streams, lakes,

rivers, oceans, the snow that melts, the wind,
the dark firmament, with all their creations.

The Elder talks of one
who became a carnival, an amusement park

where people entered and went on rides,
his mouth a Ferris wheel, his arms the midway,

how he was found out, chased, cornered,
how he then stepped out of the gaslight

into forbidding darkness, and made
the triumphant leap to a cratered universe.

For more information about Monster, or to purchase the book, please click here.

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A Thing Past, an excerpt from Come Closer, by Leanne Averbach

A Thing Past

may be plucked of a sudden from the well, its memory
cavity. No query is necessary, nor forwarding address.

It may arrive dull, meaningless, slathered in vague clutter,
or rise pristine to quake us, better

than ever from nowhere. It will peel us raw
in a flash—that muted ransom. It repeats, no will to resist,

harnessing us to the bed. It has a keen sense
of smell and fashion. It remembers a friend

of a friend who knew all about the incident. It is a witness
who doesn’t show up as you make the case again, again the indefinite

verdict, an urge to call someone. Hello? Am I okay? Ruby cascades
of elixir in your glass help alternately to hold it, send it back into the well, create

new files in which to keep it. That awkward taste of the half-
learned, the feel of being tattooed inside, an extra set of organs

for recalling. Out the window Canada Geese point elsewhere,
passports in their brains. They take one last look at themselves

in the lagoon before slipping off the radar as gulls scratch
the air, bragging winter-worthiness

through rubbery feathersuits and I drift
beneath the shadowy flim-flam of love.

For more information about Come Closer, or to purchase the book, please click here.

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