Who else is
—tired of the ghost dance,
real, dream-like, too

Like ghouls about the work of the imagination,
an end by woe, illness, exit or post—
traumatic trees, uprooting

—not afraid to climb the fence
& leave a short sentence stuck
to the hands

Give the post—prison child a break
for all the will and strength put up in ten fingers
Gripped on air, on any living thing, really: they who

entered 1866 & did not leave the same. Never mind these
yardsticks begging the untroubled ear nothing

but Lovers’ Rock, Country & Western, Jazz, Blues
And what’s it to you:

who sleeps between the walls of this interrogation—
I do not come to join the bleeding, though
I must

scale the walls of this brute semantic
off the unpainted wood midway on the boundary of the Shanty Town
is rust even the just wind rejects—

& the grandmother still sits wide-legged
on stones up the dogged path to her shack
all can bleed if she begs in a sordid tongue

Bwilé, bwilé, bwilé—she knows to sing, that burn,
A home in the exalted bay as night brings secrets on entropic winds
pained enough to unburn the gummed holes in her clapboards
with stories about fingerprints tolling the superior man

This night, it snores and passes through us. So never mind
the thorned galvanize of this ghetto, I woman
Swollen with life, I woman whose rain fogs the ceremony
of her coming. But attend that sound she makes that stuns the laughing fowl




Tilted, so & everything nice
The blackwood treasure
In a city of words, wood & flesh
& water, a garden she could shepherd.
The Afrika Safari. What could you say
Into May or June that could be enough

The Doppelganger rib is not the secret
There is always some reason to drop
The world off your shoulders, even
So that it can find its cry
    In the horn of the lamb

Strike white lies about
The skull & wait
    For the mitosis continuum
of the honey locusts–all pink with icing
& revenge &
soon death goes shopping
at midnight, straight

through the gay, green heart of the tree
    of Eden that will be chasing
thereafter, the fire of Pompeii
chasing—the white witch

Canisia Lubrin was born in St. Lucia. A member of the inaugural Open Book advisory board, she teaches in the English Department at Humber College while continuing work in arts education and community development. Lubrin, whose work has appeared in anthologies and journals, including Prairie Fire, Arc, Room, and The Puritan, holds an MFA in writing from Guelph-Humber and is the author of the début collection of poems Voodoo Hypothesis (Wolsak & Wynn, fall 2017).