To a Growth

by Lisa Richter

Lisa Richter is a Toronto poet and educator. Her poetry has appeared in a number of publications, including The Malahat Review, The Scrivener, The Toronto Quarterly, and lichen, as well as in Voices for Diversity and Social Justice: A Literary Education Anthology (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015). In 2015, her poem “Where the Old Road Begins” was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize. Lisa is currently at work on her first full-length collection. More can be found on her website.

 

Nameless before the ultrasound, you lurk
in my breast, a centimeter or so from
the nipple, a pit lodged in a windpipe,
all smoldering acorn quietness. I push down,
trying to make out your contours—what is the size
and shape of the weapon sprung and loaded,
what is the weight of the stone in the snowball
the young boy throws at another in Deptford, Ontario,
hitting the pastor’s pregnant wife instead?
Try not to worry, the doctor tells me,
try to swallow these nails without scratching your
throat, here’s a glass of water to wash them
down, try to relax beneath the noose whose sinews
I have just placed around your chipped porcelain
neck. Knowing you are in there, but not knowing
who you are, or what you will do to me. I turn
over in bed, cupping your vessel, playing host
to a guest in a ski mask. Perhaps the only thing
to do is offer you tea and clean linens,
caution you that the bathroom light’s gone out
and you’ll have to use the lamp by the sink,
ask you about your origins, how long you’ll be
in town for. One day, on a busy street corner,
we might see each other again, you’ll tell me
how comfortable the sofa bed was, thank me
for the hospitality, and I’ll laugh
and say, It was nothing.

 


Lisa Richter is a Toronto poet and educator. Her poetry has appeared in a number of publications, including The Malahat Review, The Scrivener, The Toronto Quarterly, and lichen, as well as in Voices for Diversity and Social Justice: A Literary Education Anthology (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015). In 2015, her poem “Where the Old Road Begins” was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize. Lisa is currently at work on her first full-length collection. More can be found on her website.

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