Two poems by kerry rawlinson

Canada Geese

Everybody’s guilty. Don’t you know that?
—David Harsent, Poetry Foundation Interview, 2012

Addle the eggs. Shake ‘em. Keep shaking

till they’re dead—but set the eggs back
in their nest. Mother goose won’t lay

more. (These geese like to stay put.
Unlike our senate gulls or other
ageing snowbirds, they don’t head

seasonally south to toastier ponds—

but hang around town, dropping
their dregs everywhere. Goose turds
big as milk cows curdle on the beach,
the public square; kiddy-parks; infest
the precise civic greenery. Now: inject

needles into their eggs. Get ‘em gone.)

Thin ice shudders at the edge
of the innocent lake. The geese pause,
necks slowly stretching, muddy eyes

fixed on our shins; then carefully step
from self-righteous eugenics

into the frigid deeps.

diving bell

as though I’ve tangled

with deep sea Kraken,
heaving up from slumber
in slime to suck me down
to the somnambulist’s sound, not
breathing. Please let me never

Threads of sentience escape my head—
but drift away like Aphrodite’s hair.
Thoughts fray like curlicues of uprooted
kelp, orphaned. I’m orphaned. Your absence
is relentless. It simply declares:
you’re dead.

Your absence strips me to transparency.
I’m betrayed by everything solid,
drowning in this diving bell of “us”
that promised protection. I’m bereft—
a broken wreck. A bubble of lead
in the grip of the bends

that’s sinking heavily—
never to ascend from limbo.
A random shell in the surf; tumbled
in the tentacles of a tipsy squid,
tipped into hell’s abyss.
The depth of fracture

muffles me, untuned to my human
tongue, the uvula of a cracked
brass clacker. And my useless heart
is just another mussel pulsing
under a crusted lid, barnacled on
the world’s rusted

hull, listening to the dullest thing:
itself, suffering.

Decades ago, autodidact/bloody-minded optimist kerry rawlinson gravitated from sunny Zambian skies to solid Canadian soil. Now she stalks Literature & Art’s Muses around the Okanagan Valley, still barefoot, her patient husband ensuring she eats. Recent achievements: Edinburgh International FlashFiction Award, FishPoetryPrize, BestCanadianPoetry 2019 ( Notable). Newer acceptances: Banshee Press, drunk monkeys, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Foreign LiteraryJournal, AcrossTheMargin, PaintedBride, TupeloQuarterly, Pedestal, ArcPoetry, amongst others. Visit her on Tumblr. Tweet @kerryrawli

Appears In

Issue 12

Browse Issues