This corrugated plot, bent in on itself,
each page ending cool-bodied or electric
or whatever word I can find for briefly
okay. Of course we’ve been there already.
This lifetime of choosing the thing,
learning the road by laying it exactly
where it was. Like potato chips or returning
to the breath: again, again. They say
the brain is plastic, only they use better words—
longer, less brittle. I wish I was longer & less
brittle, my attention for sitting with words,
I mean, my brain. If I cannot spell it out
in candy wrappers, the place I want
to belong, here is the driveway in, flattened
daily by returning. Here, the still water
I practice being held by, again,
again, until I carry it like a single apple
blossom, sheltered from the wind.
Somewhere in me could be a whole tree
of blossoms, opening to their chances
& all I have to do is find the road
Note: From the series “The Garbage Poems.” All words (except title) transcribed from garbage found in Punch Bowl Pond near St. John’s, NL.
Anna Swanson is a queer writer and librarian living in St. John’s, NL/Ktaqmkuk. Her writing is interested in themes of chronic illness, concussion, embodiment, queerness, and survival joy. Her first book of poetry, The Nights Also, won the Gerald Lampert Award and a Lambda Literary Award. Her writing appears in various journals and anthologies including Best Canadian Poetry in English. She works with Riddle Fence as a poetry editor, and loves wild swimming in all seasons. This poem is from a series called “The Garbage Poems,” in which poems are built from text on garbage found at various local swimming holes. For more about the project: www.garbagepoems.com.