Don’t Tell Me I’m Quiet

All the lost Februarys, chewing the sour.
I knew you would arrive at my door.

After your ghosting, I dreamt you light
a match by striking my head—

drop fire on my foot. Surely you’ll put
it out. To vent is to show what you

can’t handle. Steam-off to be seen.
Cool down. My mother’s asleep—

you’ll wake the dead. All now is never
healing—ignite a tale with a trick

at the edge. Fuck those who accuse
when their needs aren’t met. I side

with my inside voice and peer
through my own forever.

I shed you years ago

you won’t remember—codes

with new cells, the old—
dumped into waste

paper baskets, detritus, dust.

Fallen angels: fly apart!

Motes through a sunscape,
metamorphosis, trust …

When a frog splits
down her belly, back, she works

her sloughed skin to where its quickest
to eat                    having     pulled     herself     free


All parts have a line
with never end.

Ongoing fury—burns
a shatter zone.

Cries by a gate can’t
slip out, they hover.

Hold blue in your hands.
Go on, cup sky. This isn’t illusion.

The sound of absence is your boat
coming in. The work is in the meadow.

It’s hard to put past in a safe place.
Some eyes see, if not birds.

Catherine Graham is a Toronto-based writer. Her sixth poetry collection, The Celery Forest, was named a CBC Best Book of the Year, appears on the CBC Books Ultimate Canadian Poetry List and was a finalist for the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry. Her debut novel Quarry won an Independent Publisher Book Awards gold medal for fiction, “The Very Best!” Book Awards for Best Fiction and was a finalist for the Sarton Women’s Book Award for Contemporary Fiction and the Fred Kerner Book Award. She teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto where she won an Excellence in Teaching Award and is a previous winner of TIFA’s Poetry NOW competition. Aether: an Out-of-Body Lyric will be published next year with Wolsak and Wynn. Visit her at Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @catgrahampoet.

Banner Image: “Prism/Fractals Lemon” by Robert Frede Kenter. Tweets at @frede_kenter