Thomas Lock photo

Jenna Butler's work has appeared in print, onstage, and on the air for a number of years. Her poetry has garnered several awards, including the recent production of her work by CBC's Alberta Anthology. Although she calls Alberta home, she and her husband are currently living in England, where she is working toward an MA in Poetry at the University of East Anglia.

Monday's Poem

Jenna Butler


She almost makes it
through the first week.

They've stacked his boxes
by the curb; one night

it rains, diaphanous sheets,
she knows she ought to feel glad—

feel something—
but all she can picture is

his set of Vonnegut;
damp pages clinging

like tentative hands.
She wishes now

they'd gotten to Mexico,
stunned into quietude

by bougainvillea's brightness,
co-conspirators in the mosaicked heat.

Given the choice,
they would travel by train,

fumbling over the stacks of bills
smelling of sweat and a thousand palms;

the small man behind the wicket
sunning, early siesta.

They'd cram the bags
in overhead bins,

old diesel engine panting,
part with nickels for mangoes

and nip back the pungent skin.
Trace the palm lines of hills.

But the rain, now;
that dampens everything

past repairing.
How could she have told him

that it's really about
the way light falls in a high room

midsummer, the wind picking out
the scent of lemons and beeswax

from old furniture, the lawn lounging
uncut and insouciant.

The heat is what he doesn't understand—
that, and the way sunlight cuts

whitely through unsashed windows;
how she likes to stand with the glare

refracting over her. Stripping her clean.
Something about

being prismatic.
Asking nothing.