Robin Richardson


She wants a ghost or more a pooka: horse
whose hooves lead steady to the cliff. Uneasy
cause she can’t get off on flesh alone, such stone,
those statues slack beside the crosswalk, not
fumbling, troubled, only form: heavy-ordered
in its place. In museums, dressed as a peasant, she
sketches fauna, brushes up on Roman myth, walks
Degas like those sketches. If she were a sketch
or best a bluish streak across the canvas, barely
human she’d be pigment, curled cobalt in an old
Picasso. She’s uneven, eyes slant clock and counter-
clock-wise, fingers keep time like choirs on the
thigh. She’s scrawny, lifts a toe to pirouette
when no one’s looking. No one ever is.


Blue-eyed brunette in a grass stained
pencil-skirt, her words are lesions, red
mouth, wide willingness to scrub herself
across a bed of batted eyes. Bride
of book spines, storm-sweet. She reads
each word as if a scribe, as if calligraphy
could bring a well-formed sentence
to the groin, wrap around the throat; slow
swallowing each serif as a neck thrown
back. Those curves, those cursive words,
the love-note of a boy who’s brown
makes mud of other skin tones.


The cabinetmaker’s daughter, while
dowsing with the Girl Guides in Muskoka,
finds a stream three feet below the bedrock.
Sun has bleached her braids, a séance
steeps her voice in mandolins so when she
speaks she seems to sing. The Girl Guides
are a loyal troop; too thin to think of heat
or how the bear’s skin makes him ornery.
The forest leaves its imprint on a path
where mindful girls may see the seedling
of a full-grown fern. Feeling barefoot
through the mud, they turn their beaks
towards a belt of meteors – slow-spinning
past the blue they’ve come to know as day.


Robin Richardson is the author of two books of poetry: Knife Throwing Through Self-Hypnosis (ECW Press, 2013), and Grunt of the Minotaur (Insomniac Press, 2012). She holds an MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, and has been shortlisted for the ReLit Award, and the CBC Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in many Canadian and international journals including The Puritan, Dandelion, The Westchester Review, Berkeley Poetry Review, The Cortland Review, The Malahat Review and others.
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