I wake early and often

sweat springing from

my neck, my feet, my collarbone

the change of life, or one of many

I’ve been trying to write a poem

about a tightrope, but I no longer

know why, or care

the connection isn’t clear

something about being

tied in knots

holding, binding

an image in my mind

of me suspended, cocoon like

sagging into the ropes

even as I struggle to

break free

it’s a mirror of sorts

that life I get up and live each day

the one where I am tied

to work, to home

to the same worn paths

I’ve now walked for decades

I return to the tightrope

and that elusive balance

and the way the rope is never ending

but some things end – most end

thus the night sweats

and the binds

real and imagined

and the rope

and the urge to let it all go

and fall




I can’t find my therapist

streets of Yaletown look the same

I blame gentrification

wax bars and custom tailors

capitalist sea of things

I can’t afford, don’t understand,

don’t want, don’t need

Kafkaesque this

ten years of confusion

Kafka would also lose

his way in Yaletown

I say to my therapist,

“I got lost again,” and he says

“You are here, on time”

he notices what I do well

while my focus is elsewhere

why can’t I find

a way to his office that

doesn’t find me, ten minutes

prior to my appointment,

gazing at the blo bar, the juice bar,

the distillery, wondering,

where the fuck am I?





Travelling Shoes

Tai chi shoes, he wore, left them at my house

I mailed them, but he’d flown south

I trace his travels in shoes


Here crows fly east at dusk every day

ritual magic carpet

rides – adventure in the sky


map of North America in the light

finger slides here, florida

I trace his travels in shoes


mom sent sandals to Athens but I’d left

for London – that was the past

long ago, when I had wings


he needed walking shoes spent weeks searching

cobblestones found size twelve Keds

I trace his travels in shoes


view from my window busy chickadees

flutter honeysuckle buds

constant motion, ready flight


I trace his travels in shoes



The Rat

the rat abides

even as I rake

disgusting turrets

moldy bread pasta

walls avacado hulls

he persists


he ravishes my compost

skittering claws

adept at de-lidding

the bin, dragging

my castoff detritus

to his ratty lair


I saw him once fat

shimmery, cocky

living Kingly

on my homemade lasagne

roast chicken

chile citrusy salads


I was on my way to court

-the ex-husband-extracting money

rat eyes glinting, entitled

over the compost

he postured – just

keep the food coming


I can’t call it a truce

disturb his nest again and again

more bricks on the compost

the arrangement is non-consensual

he will keep taking

as long as I keep eating


I could call it a metaphor

a scuttling long tailed image,

a symbol, a living

squeaking personification

It’s life imitating life

It’s a fucking rat



we live many pale

moments and

few blazing, gold ones


freedom is seizing

grand moments

knowing they won’t stay


this moment, you say,

lips brushing my neck,

we will recall


where you are snow falls

and moments pass

three hours ahead


freedom is living

the moments we will

never possess


you are in the east

I am in the west

you blow smoke rings


through the phone

this moment

I can almost smell the smoke




you pursue

something in me

a room I have not known

windows never opened

no doors, no windows

you say

your own body,


while I consider this

particles and atoms

neighbours and strangers

join hands

at a window ledge

in my pelvis

lean heads and shoulders

all the way

let go

fall in





My bed

I dream vague shapes

that frighten or arouse

and wake to my voice

what did I say

what did I say

I sleep with feet uncovered

like my grandmother used to

while my body yearns still

for the comfort of spooning

a hand cupping my breast

my bed seems to shrink

as alone in it

I stretch, diagonal

and learn, night after night

how to take up more