publishing poetry only

Monday's Poem

Joanna lives in Whitehorse, Yukon where she has completed poetry and short story manuscripts and is working on a novel. She helps organize the biennial Whitehorse Poetry Festival and is on the editorial board of the online circumpolar magazine, Arctica. Joanna's poems and stories have appeared in a range of anthologies and journals in Canada, the US and the UK. She was a finalist in The Malahat Review's 2011 Far Horizons Award for short fiction and 2010 Open Season Award for fiction, and won second prize in the 2010 Vancouver International Writers' Festival poetry contest. Joanna recently received an Advanced Artist Award from the Government of Yukon and has poems forthcoming in The Malahat Review, The New Quarterly and FreeFall.

© 2012 Joanna Lilley

I can't hear a thing you're saying

This big-box bar is trying to be dark
though it's ten o' clock and light outside.
Low wattage sun sparking through

shutters, not quite shut, makes me blink.
Ceiling fans spin, pretending it's hot.
It's not. It's as cold as any dwindling

Yukon August. I have come to this bar
so many times, trying to do what couples do.
Tonight we are on stools,

the sitting place I hate the most.
I can't talk in blaring lines,
just quiet squares and circles.

Tonight I can't talk at all in this factory
of racket, being born with a blunt voice,
dull ears. If I can hear you, I don't

want to because you must be shouting.
I watch a guy by the bar at artless ease
in a ball cap, nothing to do but chew

and pull at his t-shirt. I want to sketch
the sphere of his mesmerising midriff.
I'm grateful no one smokes in bars

any more, that these fancy ceiling tiles
are white, but tomorrow, when I can hear
myself speak, I'll tell you I'm never

coming here again. Get some other
mug to drive you. I'm going to stay
at home and drink alone.