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Sarah Burgoyne :: Two poems


That one surmounts oneself is the wisdom of the shadow.

The light winks constantly because it knows this secretthat Irene sits in front of the mirror, with a rose compact and this is why the smell of powder inexplicably fills the air, and rose is the colour of the wall at night.

Shadows rise behind their objects. Memory is this:
a peripheral world of pale liquid stone.

On the plaster wall the light is wet:
a headlight on a rainy bypass.

In the room, fin of light, fly of light,
twinned light of angels, moving but unscared.

Where candlelight illuminates the ceiling—mostly,
or lights the underside of a tree's leaves—

yes, this:
box of the soul.

The sink is my palm, upturned on the floor
for you; think of your house; descend.

The fig tree's shadow is a ladder
for you to climb.

Press your ear to the fridge;
inside is a cautious poet echoing your poem.  

Eyes closed the water is porcelain;
eyes open it is the vein of a leaf.

Temperature thresholds:
hard to discern.

Kindness is the burner at its highest—
inhaling orange and ache; a deep breath.

I guess we've lived in green's lights and darks,
tongues in the florets, consensus of green.

Irene, tonight
I ask the animals to forgive me.


The things I cannot say posture as mess.
The night’s a broken filter: a cold cloud
arranging over day’s geranium surfaces,
where I police me for all that is too loud

and too base and this is the tick which brings me
to wanting. Here, the pasture is thick though my coat
of arms is made of shards, and each one sinks me
in a hole, and sets me against me as a moat

I wait beside on the shore smelling of rust and knife,
here, because my page is full. The footsteps
downstairs, you hear, just there, are my other life
I hear them and yes, they are my other life, swept

awake downstairs to walk around as if
I cannot hear them living all across it.

Sarah Burgoyne is an experimental poet. Her first collection Saint Twin (Mansfield: 2016) was a finalist for the A.M. Klein Prize in Poetry (2016), awarded a prize from l'Académie de la vie littéraire (2017) and shortlisted for a Canadian ReLit Award. Other works have appeared in journals across Canada and the U.S., have been featured in scores by American composer J.P. Merz and have appeared with or alongside the visual art of Susanna Barlow, Jamie Macaulay and Joani Tremblay. She currently lives and writes in Montreal. Her next manuscript will be published with Coach House Press in Spring 2021.

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