Among old thorns, mistakes
of phrenology. Among a scattering
of drill-bits born
and reborn in the same tree,

radial threads in the heartwood’s
stem, last linear remnants
of an awkward introduction, history boring
into my skull.

Like a shock. Tapped for syrup,
sap drooled. I studied the economy
of wallpaper, and came up with this
plan: Orla Kiely is coming. Look pretty.

I forget how bad we are with names:.
don’t dredge up the megafauna
for no reason. You know
what this scarab reminds me of?

Of course not. Fat palms slapped down
in the Carboniferous
jungle. Having an armour
and no natural enemies---

but the tooting horn of idiocy,
which accompanies most of real life.
Nobody particularly loves
the rhinoceros

or the thin mist of disappointment
in her absent mane, the way, depending
on your calibration, white
is actually grey.


Each night, in the digital forest,
black thorax of a starry sky
cracked open deadly wide,
you come to me out of the woodwork

and I catch myself, glossy mandibles
hooked in a sweater
chain around your neck,
and ride.

Alanna Schiffer was shortlisted for the 2015 Janice Colbert Poetry Award and has more recently been published in Paul Vermeersch’s Sunrise With Seamonsters project. She has a degree in English, Philosophy, and Linguistics from the University of Toronto, and a teaching degree from Southern Cross University (Australia). She lives in Toronto.