Kate Cayley

I was putting off God. A task crossed outeach night like laying aside clothingI can't find time to repair.My children speak to me from the next roomand I pursue their voices through the house.I walk my son to the drugstore to buy hoopsfor his ears. There's an old man in the doorwayand I give him less than I've spent on the earrings.My son begins to walk homein the opposite direction. He is old enough.The man calls after me do not lose him.When my son was three, the garbage truck driver tieda loop of string to the handle of the truck's hornand let him pull it. I don't know what to hope forexcept that he will be blessedwith unnecessary kindness, offer it in kind.He disappears at the corner.I was still putting off God. The sky beganthe ritual of evening and I walkedmore quickly, refusing.

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Headshot of poet Kate Cayley

Kate Cayley has published two short story collections and three collections of poetry, and her plays have been performed in Canada, the US and the UK. She has won the Trillium BookAward, an O. Henry Prize, and the Mitchell Prize for Poetry. She lives in Toronto.

Cover of the book "Lent"

Toronoto, Ontario

“I didn’t think I’d forgotten how close poetry can get to us—inside our eyes, below our thoughts—but reading Kate Cayley’s poems, I feel newly awed at their sure and profound nearness.”
—Sadiqa de Meijer, Governor General’s Literary Award–winning author of alfabet/alphabet

“Eventually, most of the things one loves fill one with worry, and, paradoxically, the more deeply one loves, the more quickly one is filled. Poetry fills me with worry—because, thankfully, it is always changing. But Kate Cayley’s Lent, though it is filled with love and worry, doesn’t worry me at all—not because it isn’t new; it’s as new as tomorrow—but because it is so well made. These are poems that are completed by their encounters with difficult things—they do not take note of, they live with. And they read the way the best poems do, like parts of one returned to one. I love this book; it does not worry me.”
—Shane McCrae, author of Cain Named the Animal

“Gorgeous and startling, the poems in Kate Cayley’s Lent emerge as a testament to poetry itself: the desire to grapple with an imperfect world, and yet respond with praise. ‘Show me/the pith of my own heart,’ she writes, despite the darkness. These are poems filled with hope, searingly intelligent, by one of our country’s finest poets. Lent is a wonder.”
—Steven Price, Scotiabank Giller Prize–shortlisted author of Lampedusa

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