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Untitled

Stephanie Bolster
From:   originally published in The Malahat Review#110, Spring 1995;
republished in Breathing Fire: Canada's New Poets, Harbour Publishing, November 1995


Come to the edge of the barn the property really begins there,
you see things defining themselves, the hoofprints left by sheep,
the slope of the roof, each feather against each feather on each goose.
You see the stake with the flap of orange plastic that marks

the beginning of real. I'm showing you this because
I'm sick of the way you clutch the darkness with your hands,
seek invisible fenceposts for guidance, accost spectres.
I'm coming with you because I fear you'll trip

over the string that marks the beginning, you'll lie across the border
and with that view--fields of intricately seeded grain and chiselled mountains,
the cold winds already lifting the hairs of your arm--you'll forget your feet,
numb in straw and indefinite cow dung, and be unable to rise, to walk farther.

My fingers weave so close between yours because I've been there
before, I know the relief of everything, how it eases the mind to learn
shapes it has not made, how it eases the feet to know the ground
will persist. See those two bowls of milk, just there,

on the other side of the property line, they're for the cats
that sometimes cross over and are seized by sudden thirst, they're
to wash your hands in. Lick each finger afterwards. That will be
your first taste, and my finger tracing your lips will be the second.


(The first line is one of John Ashbery's "37 Haiku" in A Wave.)


Stephanie Bolster's works copyright © to the author.


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