After Mark Doty

Suppose the world is not round as they say  
but rather bulb-shaped or turnip-like suppose
that turnip’s roots dangle muddy with black earth
you will run beneath cold water to loosen
before boiling suppose those crumbs of earth
disperse into the cold satin vacuum of space
and travel like spores and time stretching so long
so vast you can’t really even think of it as time anymore
just something that goes on and on like the heartbeat
you hear in your mind’s conch shell an ocean rolling over
and over onto itself echoing stars that gasp beneath
the glistening blue mouth the planet opens wide
as it thunders in silence suppose there is a crustacean
whose hard-shelled back we have not seen yet suppose
it sleeps in valleys in the ocean deep as mountains
you could fall into and spend a lifetime climbing out of
to get back suppose every person you see reading
on the bus whose eyes flicker away when they meet yours
is a person you might have loved


Lisa Richter’s debut collection of poetry, Closer to Where We Began, was published in 2017 by Tightrope Books. Her poems have previously appeared in a number of journals, including The Malahat Review, The Puritan, The Literary Review of Canada, Contemporary Verse 2, and Canthius. She was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2015, and won first place in CV2’s 2-Day Poem Contest. Lisa is currently working on her second collection of poetry. She lives, writes, and teaches English in Toronto.