06 Feb Julie Mannell
MURMUROUS LILT IN WHITE
When you are gone I imagine
you go to wherever Christmas
lights live in the summertime,
imbroglio of exhausted colours.
I have been so grey all winter.
My face is the sole survivor
of a pack of eggs that went bad
yesterday, a smirking protein rot.
I say, demure as a neon light,
We should treat everyday like
St. Patrick’s day, forgetting
all of our sweaters are brown.
This happens every year here,
we get one warm day and tuck
away all our heavy coats before
the final snow storms’ presage
—this happens, every curly arm
embarrassed into the pockets of
their masters’ chests, anemone
fanned from girls’ French braids.
Our eyes grow yellow as corn
for we’ve been waiting too long,
long enough for the wastes of
animals to sediment with garbage
making fake rocklike foundations.
Crusts for feral feet dictate our
loaned practices of speech: this is
why we say things like I love you.
I love you. I love the way petrichor
is like catnip for poets. I love how
music swirls around its instrument.
I love a cat’s look before its pounce.
I love you. This happens; especially
late at night when you are the black
hole under the blanket. Bodies lie
in the absence of light and omission
of shape. This happens all year here.
The forms disappear and I feel hungry
for the obvious materiality of you. You
are the whisper that bore skin and teeth.
You are the slurp that dawned a hair.
You are the choke that breathed lips.
You are the swallow that earned spit.
You are the blink that conveyed hands.
At night you are a mere hollow croak,
the bodiless snore that speaks to no one,
the tired greys weighted to our eyelids,
going where bulbs go, into the deep thick.
Julie Mannell is a writer of poetry, fiction and essays, and an editor at Matrix Magazine. She is the recipient of the HarperCollins/Constance Rooke Scholarship, the Mona Adilman Poetry Prize and the Lionel Shapiro Award for Excellency in Creative Writing. Her work has been featured in the National Post, the Toronto Star and Joyland, amongst others. At the moment, Mannell is an MFA candidate at the University of Guelph and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University in English Literature and Philosophy. Originally from Fonthill, Ontario, she currently splits her time between Montreal and Toronto.
This poem was originally published in Matrix Magazine.