Branches Fleuries d’Amandier

Gordon Lonethunder

I can’t see it from this side of our window.
In any case I don’t know what you’re talking
about. A snuff of kettle’d tea in the kitchen.
A candlestick on a chair, then a borrowed
living-room windowsill set in the sun;
thin chalk line of church trees chiaroscuro
on church pavement.                    Sequins of stars.I come home.
She has tea on the stove but isn’t sober.
She hands me the pills. I take them with a glass of water.
I take them one after another. She’s thrown
an orange afghan across her thinly, swung it
over one shoulder like a shawl. Soft moccasin
fur on her feet. Thin crackle of floor crickets
under sub floor, clumps of leaves after someone’s swept.
She sits at the piano but plays nothing.
She rolls her hand and forearm
so that her palm faces up
and the radius lies parallel to the ulna. Her
hands are cigarette stained. Bathed in iodine.
When she speaks she does so in a slur:
            she says the anguish of the heart strikes
where love struck first, but
then held fermata in the shifting field
of memory that doesn’t shift,
that can’t. She is at the piano head down like a robed monk.
Lugubrious yellow smoking hand representative.
But I must return to the painting of the crows.
I must return to the ambiguity of the evening.
The rain slush on the sill at window
that’s frozen explains the snow from which
It first originally fell. Tonight snow fell for the first time this fall.

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Gordon Lonethunder is a member of the Sagkeeng First Nation. This is his first poem accepted for publication.

The Malahat Review

Summer 2018

Victoria, British Columbia

University of Victoria

Iain Higgins

Managing Editor
L'Amour Lisik

The Malahat Review, established in 1967, is among Canada’s leading literary journals. Published quarterly, it features contemporary Canadian and international works of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction as well as reviews of recently published Canadian poetry, fiction, and literary nonfiction.

The Malahat Review is dedicated to excellence in writing. Its aim is to discover the most promising of the new writers and publish their work alongside the best established writers, to present work accurately and attractively to readers, and to increase awareness of Canadian writing in general through perceptive critical comment.

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