Letter to the Night

We are
A distance

The door opens

Walking backwards

Shutting doors

Asleep, on

Your dreams
Are blank

I am
An ocean

Later, the

Gulls circle
Then plummet

Into your

While I breathe

Into a paper

And let it

On the wind


Letter to a Father

The cat is in the river
The dog stands on a high tower
In the morning I hear wailing
A bomb flew over the town
It is still flying
In the shops they say it is not the dog’s fault
And no one mentions the cat
I am on my bed
A hydrogen sits near me
In the morning I open and close the refrigerator
The hydrogen drifts away
I’m sorry: it is here with me now
I’m busy, however
The park is empty
The dog and cat are nowhere to be seen
In the morning the people cry by the river:
“Neither animal can be blamed
What an animal does
Is according to its nature.”


Letter to a Cousin on the Eve of His Wedding

It is ruptured, but there is no scarring
I am too old for scarring
In the distance, a moon wanes
Or waxes, I am too old to know
The difference: it is yawning
And I wonder where did you go?
The batcave? I am too old to remember
Seven times I wondered
And the machine is too old to be serviced
The rust shakes in the grass
And I climb to the top of the stairs
Where I can feel the wind on your forehead
The moon grows bigger or smaller
And I am too old to see very far


If I Were Conrad Black

If I were Conrad Black I’d be a
corpse glittering
on the slopes of a far-off
or a carpet of
dead kicked underneath
a humming.

If I were Conrad Black
I’d remember every
facial muscle
or column of fresh white
goose flesh
bathed in the fading light
of an apartment.

If I were Conrad Black
the slightest
or camera shutter
would twist my
frightened horses.

Pictured from left to right:
Matthew and Diane
Conrad Hilary Barbara
and Galen

It’s not hard to imagine
a stiletto wound in the centre
of each of our friends.

Exist only
to be smooth-faced or cragged
scarred or scraped-free
of inconvenience or


Letter to a Close Friend

I am a wheel
in the morning two
weepings could not
triumph over
wet concrete,
remember? I am
a wheel, please
don’t forget that
if you want
a measure of
taciturn antelope
I am over
here, with the
big spoon, weeping
and spelling out
my name, on
rocks. Remember
always, too, yesterday
or tomorrow, I
am, and forever
your remote
areas, or china.
Don’t plagiarize,
if an owl runs
I can always
in the distance.
Manning the
wheel, forever, I
love you, please
keep the light
under the table
for when I come
over, darling.
If you miss
my shadow, remember:
stand before the light
always with your
head, turning.
Tremble over
a picture of a
fox, running forever.
The ocean,
its rudiments, I love
seal grunting
or party favours, I
am indifferent to
sudden noises,
whale songs, please
put it back wherever
you found it,
I love you,
trembling always,


Don’t be gauche. I had a dream, and in that dream I was gauche. A terrible gaucheness was attempting to smother me in an empty room without windows. It was more of a hallway, actually. I stared up at the Victorian wood panelling and screamed, a gauche scream. When I woke up there was a dog next to me and the dog was being gauche. “No,” I said. “Don’t.” In the morning the air was gauche. The surrounding country was certainly gauche. The family car slipped down the driveway and the strains of music playing out the open window were gauche. “If this keeps up, I’m going to have to commit suicide,” I thought, waving from where I stood with the dog. I went inside and had breakfast. The dog saw a cat through the window, and began barking. I went back to bed, closing my eyes and daring to imagine a world that was not gauche. The phone rang. The ringtone, I have always struggled with it, was gauche. It was my mother on the other end. They had forgotten something at the house and they were turning back. As the car pulled down the driveway, and I stood with the suitcase they had left behind, I couldn’t help but notice the sun filtering through a break in the clouds. A perfectly gauche display, I thought.


I Don’t Want To Be Indulged

Maybe I am a ghost sitting up in a log cabin
Or looking out the window
Maybe I am a ghost wondering
If I believe in myself
And using electromagnetic vibrations
To phone someone
And I am whispering something that can’t be heard
About wanting to prove that nothing is real


The lawn is cut, for the first time in two years. Something has been gained in its reduction. As if it were weighing on me, somehow a difficulty, as if because I’m used to short grass, to see long grass is only a reminder of what I’m not doing, or haven’t done. Even though I prefer long grass.

I feel relieved.


Yesterday my sister was married. I gave a speech, and it went well, better than I could have hoped.

In the early morning, when I’d finished working on the speech, I wasn’t entirely confident. I didn’t know the kinds of things said at weddings, I didn’t know what role to take. I wrote something—maybe too sincere. Maybe too sentimental. Despite this, I visualized the result: my aunt congratulating me, my sister.

During the course of the reception I realized that what I’d written wasn’t appropriate: not because of its content, but because of its tone. I gave the speech, changing it without once referring to my notes.

Afterwards, my heart was racing. I ate quickly, but without really eating. I didn’t finish. I thought of saying, to someone who’d given a speech at her brother’s wedding a week earlier, “You couldn’t eat before you gave the speech, now I can’t eat afterwards.” But I didn’t.

As soon as the speeches portion of the night was over, I went outside. I walked for a long time, until my heart calmed down and I felt I could return. I stood for a while and looked at the Toronto skyline, visible across the water, somehow a hyperreal image, as if it were the background in a movie, constantly projected, manipulated. There was a vantage point closer to the event, but I wanted to be alone.

I returned to the party. When I looked back towards the water, someone else was coming out to look out at the view.