All My Motherly Duty

I could have died on this road alone

but for the fever of your touch.
You pull crusts off my loneliness

and your hand on my  wrist
lessens this wake I drag
behind me like a stillborn.

Your transmuted voice whispers
my secrets hidden in a bucket of eels

where you mock their twice mirrored mouths

I wrap my prayer shawl of grief
around the boney circumference
of your sloped shoulders.

I don’t die with longing,

I don’t even die for your lips
to press like poppies
onto my white waxen face.

I have saved all my motherly duty for you

singer of hymns and roman candle
endings splashing over my awe.

If you call me precious

don’t then graze my cheeks
with the intent of robbing

my benign forgiveness.

We carry nothing but concrete
and skinned knees down to the river

bruised and broken we do not fall,

we have become a cascade of descending numbers
filling the morning sky with a million ways
to skip over each calculation.

We drift alone and circle the sun with our purpose
each time we are burned,

singed wings drop us like holy stones
on to one another’s stage.

Leave me here on the edge of this knife
not knowing whose cold blood I’ll draw.

A heart cradled once sings anthems
of recognition upon awakening,

a heart trapped twice merely stops dead.

Coming Events

Jude is launching her eighth book of poetry Impromptu! She'll be on a mini tour between now and June, when she begins her Poetry Residency at Joy Kogawa House. Admission is free for all events. She will be selling her new book and poetry CD.

Launch on Bowen Island at Collins Hall - Sunday, March 8 at Collins Hall - 4:00-5:30

Reading at The Writers Studio, Simon Fraser University - March 12

Reading at Cottage Bistro on Main St. in Vancouver - date and time TBA

Vancouver Launch at Murray Adaskin Studio, Vancouver - Saturday April 4 - 7:00-8:30

Readings in Nanaimo and Victoria later this spring - dates and times TBA

Jude Reads Her Poetry