Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Kateri Lanthier


I’m a nymph in the cumulonimbus, a mortar shell in the café.
You gave me a quivery unfocussed kiss. The dream-cat leapt from your head.

Our every kiss a power surge that sparked a rolling blackout.
Where the bee sucks, there suck I. Swooning astride the no-fault line.

How was it? Like trying to speak with dignity into a megaphone.
Like trying to hide your tears while strapped into the driver’s seat.

Audition here, coquettes and wags with the infernal cast of mind.
Meet me on the mondegreen, meet me in the jet stream.

The coral has osteoporosis. Don’t wake the infant snow squall.
You think cats don’t have shoulders? Just watch one muscle the door.

You can tug my forelock and lead me to slaughter but you can’t make me drink.
March rolls out the beige carpet. Roll the barrel over the falls.


Scare quotes, scarecrows, sacred cows,
ripped from the headlines,
tossed in the bin. A real mess,
this time, unrecyclable.
Kids are making mountains out of mudhills.
It’s all one big smear campaign here.

A Sargasso sea of celebutantes,
starchitects, those who fall upward.
Champers on the balcony,
chanters below.
GPS led us
wrong way down the runway.
The police put on the kettle in the rain.
It beggars belief
in the bombproof bunker.
The liar in his lair,
a hideous hideout
of Corinthian concrete.

Even if we’re not invited to the party
we should go
as unsuspecting guests.


Stifled heartbeat wings.
Drunk on blood, 
sweat and tears, or so
they’ve all been told 
one time too many
down at the conservatory/
zinc bar.

Huge butterflies meander
like indecisive birds.

Can’t help if I prefer
the hummingbird’s lost lyrics
or the avidity of the chickadee.


An off-kilter brick oven
with a soft centre. Stiff limbs
in the kiln of a 2 a.m. bed.
I’m in the fever fight 
of my life when I get the call.
Who left these babies here?
Get up, get up,
for the zillionth, for the nonce,
tilt, whisper, “Shhhh
hhhhh.” A hiss to soothe.
In truth, a command
or a plea.

Mocking clocks:
the old one with two tongues,
the one with a blood-red colon.

Everyone in tears.
Everyone asleep.
Then day.

Kateri Lanthier sings to her three kids every day. She still remembers how it felt to play the cello, even though her calluses have vanished. She lives in Toronto, just a short walk up a sandbank from Lake Ontario.

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