Poems

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Muted By Memory

I know you well.
I can tell from your demure breathing
And infinite bright eyes
That no matter how wide you open them,
Or however long they search the corners
Of my muted room,
That they’ll never light up this dense space again.

The words aren’t hidden under your palms,
But intricately intertwined and good natured,
Beneath your head of curls that always looked best
On the pillow
Next to mine.

—Carly Watters

the space in the hyphen

Jihyun-Rosel

Who do you feel more like today,
Jihyun-
Rosel?

It’s true,
I
own a Canadian passport and
write in this secondary language that now
feels more at home and
mentally
create the quiet mountainous suburbs of
Deep Cove when I say
“home”

But “home” was something else.
Home was coming into
a first-floor apartment of
many complexes outside the rectangular brick building where I
learned how to multiply and sew and then at sneak out to
a snack truck full of hot broth and 떡볶이
Playing with 공기

I forgot.

I was busy looking
at other people’s pasts
acclimatizing to the world so vast
where just one province enveloped my former country
twofold and over.

But no, I was not
around when the Stanley Cup happened, I
do not know Mr. Dressup or Mr. Rogers, I
never grew up eating peanut butter from a jar.

In university
I learned to
think critically and
be suspicious of the notion of “home”

and that
multiplicity, rather than unity was
really alright

So, I asked:
나의 과거를 찾고싶다.
내가 누구인지를 다시 발견하고 싶다.

With determination of
Western Enlightenment I
uncovered the
unvisited books in my parents’ shelves, my
born-again first language, my
rich history of a home I left
so long ago

I remember now.

and

understand

the space in the hyphen
the space in the hybrid wor(l)d

Korean-Canadian

--Rosel Kim

Piece for My Mother

Each time I call, I am reborn
Re-become the un-hewn edges of her perpetual project
She projects her hopes to find perfection in my form
Afraid I’m not,
Afraid I’m sick, bored, lost, alone
Because I am the most tangible of God’s creations
To my Atheist mother
Who had three abortions and my brother Ryan
Would be almost 30 now.

Allowed to be born,
I am the pulsing package with a convenient delivery date.
Fated to confide my fears, my lies to my mother’s sighs
Overflowing to her while knowing
We can’t disconnect,
From the calendar reflect of a tearless September baby.

But that was then and this is then too,
And for you, Mama, I wish I could have bled it first.
Not a rehearsal but just a what if,
I had the piece to release you with.

I’m a part of you and I’m a piece of others.
And under this cellophane skin cover,
I’m a piece of me too.
And from Eve to you to me to maybe
It takes a real mother to know, to fight
For the love she admits she’s not ready to do right.

From a piece of a girl, peace-less but patient,
This is a personalized daughter’s interpretation:
Maybe she’s fearless or it’s all over
But either way, I am proud to still owe her
Herself.

As a chosen mother
As a chosen child
For having chosen, for having been brave
For telling the doctor who he had to save.

—Lara Szabo-Greisman

Great Lake Sailor

If she was a hailstorm cracking windshields
caught in the gale, then I am your lake.
I never made you lose sleep for months and I kept
calm through those nights and red mornings.

Although my fall is a deep dive— there are safe shallows
but to reach the bottom is to drown.
So that’s why I never wanted to invite you past toes dipping,
sending ripples over the surface.
It takes a certain strength to swim these lengths.

Water dissolves everything, but it’s a slow process
to devour the vestiges of shipwrecks and sailors.

We live by great lakes that trick us into thinking they’re oceans
and yet I still subscribe to the sea of modest thinking,
as if to calm the winds lifting my edges up and over land.
I don’t want to spill or send anything of myself away,
but there is so much to contain.

—Adèle Barclay

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