Rustling leaves in moonlight
blue shadows on white sheets.
How did we meet again
in this prairie city of bridges?
We should have found each other on the Metro.
Paris is used to this sort of affair.
Your eyes glow like amber
when I warn you
of the dangers.
Be careful, be careful,
before I get drunk on
A simple rise and fall
but your breathing
sends a flutter
through my body
like a butterfly
in a glass jar.
breathing you into me
blue shadows writhing on white sheets.
My body forgets
distance and years apart—
the ache of longing gone for tonight.
—Candice G. Ball
Snakeroot, may apple, cotton root,
hot baths and pennyroyal—
she’s collecting seeds, potions in brown jars.
How she wanted to miscarry,
but she still felt it in her breasts,
heavy pressed against Saturday night’s dress.
Rue, the morning-after-
pill, mustard baths
but the seed went astray, multiplying.
She remembers July, the sultry sky
when she kissed him—
how the last star winked, said yes.
Yes at 3:00 a.m. tangled in secrets
and sweat. Oh, the wine, stars and seeds!
No wishes upon these late stars,
already spent. Leaves fall
yellow, brown and ash.
She chokes on the fumes—
nauseous in a Greyhound heading
south for the procedure.
The child inside her runs and hides,
a fugitive in her body.
In Fargo, gin and tonic and strong cigarettes
to gather lost thoughts,
crossing borders, ripe fields and dairy cattle.
Alone in the prairie landscape: terrible grey seeds
and sky sink in her belly. Fallen leaves.
She wants to forget September.
—Candice G. Ball
This is the first poem I published in a literary journal. This piece appeared in Grain in 1992. Under the influence of Lorna Crozier, I wrote this poem at the tender age of 21. I studied with her in my second year of university. She assigned my class a prose poem and the following poem is what I submitted:
men love women love men
Some men love bisexual women others love straight women who scream during sex, who leave tiger marks on their backs other men love women who wear black tank tops in the middle of the winter & dance on speakers in nightclubs & some men love women with wild blonde hair, jeans that don’t lie, and kiss-me-red lips some men love women who write poetry about violence & sex others love women who give head and swallow
Women love men who won’t ask when the threesome is other women love men who look at their faces during sex and kiss them & women with large breasts love men who notice the colour of their eyes other women love men who won’t talk of old lovers like a stamp collection & some women love men who won’t let them say fuck in the bedroom & women poets love men who read between the lines.
–Candice G. Ball