Three Poems

Linda King

fortune teller

every day begins as language stretches itself
your dog-eared books    alphabet blocks
maps that name you home

the cat curls into an oval of necessary ambiguity

separate each element    birth    water    womb
sounds with no source

your story is everyone’s story
sad assortment of letters
prizes on cereal boxes

it is not fear that flutters inside you
but a fire of language
one that will have what it wants
its punctuation is ashes

all root systems
eventually decompose


Howling in a High Clearing

Where the light collects
where the adjectives are distributed
make no promises.

The disorder of things
is always a lateral arrangement
buttons too big for the holes.

There will be a busy rain.    It will not be
a solution to this day.
You were the child who tasted snow in summer.
No one can tell you what darkness is.

The moon doesn’t know the scent of you. Somewhere
a beast breaks free of its harness.
Open your bag of names. Stop gagging
on the words you want to put back.

What did you expect—
did you forget
that you are subject
to vertigo?


coffee at night

you are meant to remember the prior story
everything at the edge
sleep is the moment after rain

this silence is how you write breathing
the moon understands
a paleness    something like words

your father’s misery was thin as a whisper
white quiet woods    footprints in ashes
long dirt road to the farmhouse

you have been misled
none of this needs explaining
unfasten the deadbolt night

even false things are breakable
cloud formations in walled gardens
cold wind in the sod house

leaves let loose of their branches
the myth remains
it’s what keeps you up tonight

now    all edges and angles
you are fond of forgetting
that push out of childhood

the dog and pony show for your mother
get on the scale    tomorrow there will be
porridge and brown sugar for breakfast

Linda King is a Vancouver poet/workshop facilitator whose work has appeared in numerous literary journals in Canada and internationally—Event, Prairie Fire, Room of One’s Own, Other Voices, Quills, Monday Night, Envoi, nthPosition, Wicked Alice… The poems submitted here are from a full-length manuscript, working title Every Attraction Has a History. E-mail: lindakits[at]

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