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.

Meet Jude at Coming Events

  • Book launch for The Flaw, at the Canadian Music Centre BC on November 6 at 3:30-5pm.

  • Jude read from Naxos Greece on Saturday September 17 @ 1:00 pm-2:00 pm. PDT time. The event included Jude Neale, reading from The River Answers (Ekstasis Editions) | Shani Mootoo, Cane Fire (Book*Hug Press) | Alan Hill, In the Blood (Caitlin Press), all speaking from different places on Earth.
    For information:
  • The Bowen Island launch for Inside the Pearl was on October 1, 2021, 7:30pm, at the Hearth Gallery.
  • Guernica launched on Zoom Sep 12, 2021 - 12:30 Pacific
  • Launch at Joy Kogawa House, Vancouver on September 19, 2021 at 4pm. Jude read several poems from the book with photographs.
  • Jude will facilitated a workshop on Sunday, August 8: "Impromptu, Poetry Writing from 1-2pm on Bowen Island. Register
  • In the afternoon, Jude read from A Blooming, Impromptu, The River Answers and The Flaw, from between 2:30 and 5pm on Bowen Island. She was one of several Bowen writers performing at that time. More Info

Jude Reads Poetry