Monday 5 August 2013

3 Poems by Gillian Sze

First Hymn
'Cædmon, sing me hwæthwugu.'

Now we must rave the somatic reaping:
the stomach of summer and another sun’s labour,
the winding of wheels, the formula to woman.
Even Fall’s failings have more to foster:
the remaining milk to make cheese in winter,
the glut of grapes for another time’s garnet wine,
leftover love – smoked, cured, preserved, pickled – look to it later.
What our tongues tested, made afterwards
firm ground for something that worked, we’ll forget just how well.

[from The Anatomy of Clay (ECW Press, 2011)]

Sunday the Thirteenth

Today I wear your mother’s shirt.
I wish there were more to say,
but the day is ungenerous
and I don’t know how to move
from your side of the bed.
All afternoon the shadows
reassured me that the sun
has seen all angles of my face
as it left for tomorrow.
Now I wear dusk around my knees.

[from The Anatomy of Clay (ECW Press, 2011)]


Behind the buildings,
the sky is like verdigris above the horizon.
The last year rusted through, I wake early.
Raise my green tea to the moon.
It looks down with a half-closed eye.

Lately, I’ve been more aware
of the moon’s phases.
We are somewhere between a new moon
and the first quarter,
and I find myself at intersections
seeking a sliver of shaded relief
behind the blinds.

I am all middle-ground,
flanked by the urgency of language,
the tremor
and the salacity that swings above it.

A full moon will sprout in two weeks.
They say its effects usually last for four days.
People on the street will shift just as I pass,
this dementia will be a lighter bearing.

[from Fish Bones (DC Books, 2009)]


Gillian Sze’s second book is The Anatomy of Clay (ECW Press, 2011). Her debut poetry collection, Fish Bones (DC Books, 2009), was shortlisted for the 2009 QWF McAuslan First Book Prize. She co-edits Branch Magazine and teaches creative writing to youths. Gillian is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Université de Montréal. links:;

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