By Frances Boyle
Below, fields piece themselves
into monotony of flannel. Step-
close-step over the clouds. Split
season, split screen, muzzy and
disoriented, you shake your head
try to clear senses for the next break
in the murk.
Shape-shift memory: the feel
of green beneath bare feet, coarseness
of crabgrass, a clover flower’s
spongy white tickle. High-kneed
among tall tufts—
booted to wade
through drifted snow, hard-crusted
wind-polished, shapes like dunes
the wind like the sea.
Pinned silk flowers in winter,
livid colours. Pansy’s cockeyed
purple glower, velvet of petunias.
Their reek remembered; no sweetness
of real blooms, no dip of bee
as it siphons deeper, or sings
breezing over clover.
Flowers and memory-travel,
a moving ship and waving below. Crests
hit you, the force knocks you
to hands and knees, not for prayer
but in mute-screaming fear. Panic
subsides, an eddy and a drone.
To Absolve the Sky of Complicity in Rain
By Frances Boyle
The television blares over their weak
efforts at conversation – once friends
by circumstance, they now have little
to say. A book was left out in the grass
overnight, and the boy weeps at how
the cover has swollen. Industrial fire
burns, with a catwalk above. The shape
of an animal – horse? gazelle? – indistinct
in the fog. It’s not skywriting, but she
reads her mother’s name in contrails
against the winter-blue sky. Beets simmer,
jostle gently in the pot, dye cooking water
that deep red-purple. He talks with his hands,
sweeping arcs delineating points, touching
her wrist from time to time. The child
in the yellow snowsuit is wary of Santa,
shuffles close to her parents’ legs. As cars
slow for the toll booth, vendors lean
towards each window, offering air
horns, twists of ground-nuts, teddy bears.
Frances Boyle is the author of one poetry collection, Light-carved Passages (BuschekBooks). Her novella, Tower, is forthcoming from Fish Gotta Swim Editions in June, 2018, and a second book of poetry, This White Nest, is also forthcoming from Quattro Books in 2019. Her poems and short stories have been published throughout Canada and in the U.S. and have received a variety of awards. For more, see her website: www.francesboyle.com.