Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Tuesday poem #590 : Maggie Burton : The Sinkhole



At the bottom of Prescott Street
the sinkhole has opened again.
City trucks bury its secret
with gravel so heavy it feeds
the underworld. Above, black
market after-parts shatter
the silence of bird shit falling
from rafters screaming
with starlings. Under, concrete
puddles of mineralized tissue form
crowns from when dentists flushed
to the sewer and baked clay pipes
got wrecked by trees til they leaked teeth.
Frightened, all this inside knowledge
all I want is to get to the top
of the hill in one shaking piece
wearing a coat I dug out for Spring.
Instead I unearth evidence of life:
a tissue of lies crumpled up
in my pocket, a tooth my child
lost years ago, woven through
my fingers like time, slipping
away in the sinkhole.





Maggie Burton is a Newfoundland writer, violinist, and municipal politician. Her debut book of poetry, Chores (Breakwater Books, 2023), was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. Her work has been published in Prism, The Malahat Review, Riddle Fence, Room, Best Canadian Poetry, and elsewhere.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Tuesday poem #589 : Asher Ghaffar : Algorithm




I peer through the fence 
at my grandfather’s olive trees.

Look through the water 
of my eyes into your iron-clad heart.

Let me walk to my home
before the acrid smoke entered

convolutions. Let me walk

to my room
where my husband lies wanting. 

Before the ammunition rained 
through the ambulances’ drone.

In these empty streets
woven by incertitude, I remember him

through my child so that when I vanish
he can almost touch me

through this dusk—a bridge between
two absences that blossom.

Let me unclench his hand
with loaded pistol.

Take the hand of my child – 

change his name.
Let me wash and perfume 

my husband’s body with camphor,
while you turn over the earth in your fury.


From the floating pier that never arrives,
canned food falls from the sky.

Every direction leads to a trench
from a pier that never arrives. 

Let me wrap my child in white cloth
by the floating pier that never lies.

I know a yearning in every cell and atom
of my being for freedom

You steal my cup with iron clad grip;
pass it to your loved ones and drink his blood.

Build castles on our land. 

A moat around them like Ferdinand 
and Isabella.

Dreaming is a wall.
I cannot smell coffee brewing here,

in Beirut, in the sea
or in memory.  


Sealing off our lives
with algorithms of killing, you remember

barking dogs, screams,
being herded like cattle—

the disabled, the sick, the mute—

with torn suitcases and boxes?

Protests on your side

of the world wane
where it seems most safe,

where you dream but fail
to speak.




Asher Ghaffar is a poet who works and writes in Toronto. He is the author of Wasps in a Golden Dream Hum a Strange Music (ECW Press, 2009), and is currently working on a second collection called SS Komagata Maru that was nominated for the K.M Hunter Award in Literature.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, July 09, 2024

Tuesday poem #588 : John Elizabeth Stintzi : (IT IS HARD NOT TO) ENVY THE CORPSE



It is hard not to envy the corpse
of the roach I imagine

Kafka studying, prodding,

dreaming of enlarging to Gregor’s

living tomb. How it must weigh,

this anonymous legacy—

how immortal the hard back,

segmented legs and the wings

(never used). These days,

I feel like a roach and hope

one day my own murder

might be made so beautiful

by some small, sad God.

Use my belly. Collage my limbs.

Make of my pathetic scuttling

some meager, mournful tune.



John Elizabeth Stintzi (they/she) is an award winning writer, cartoonist, and artist. They are the author of the novels My Volcano and Vanishing Monuments, the poetry collection Junebat, the poetry chapbooks Flamingos in the Greenhouse and Plough Forward the Higgs Field, and the forthcoming short story collection Bad Houses. Their work has appeared in Ploughshares, The Malahat Review, Kenyon Review, and Best Canadian Poetry. They are currently at work illustrating their first graphic novel: Automaton Deactivation Bureau.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan