A Tiny Aperture

Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Edmonton: “originally an advantageous lookout for native people, this hilltop graveyard commands a view of both the Southside and downtown”
from the virtual self-guided walking tour

In a meadow of polyethylene,
a bed of warm-blooded petunias
cuddling to the gravestone,

the casual stroller
out to stock up on embers
before the coming night, struck

by the pink and white discharging
into the atmosphere.

The cemetery is a genteel scape.
Horror swept under a carpet
that unlike the stiff bouquets,
changes according to season.

(The trick fools no one – the gate too
is wide open round the clock
but there is no smell of fresh coffee.)

In this tidy domain,
the petunias are an open wound
dressed by wasps, cleansed
by rain water, they guard

a tiny aperture between our world
and the void no number
of lives can fill, the plants –

vascular bundles, a channel
for messages between the woman
and children who planted them

and the young man framed in oval.

~ Anna Mioduchowska

Anna Mioduchowska: Born in Poland, Anna Mioduchowska has lived in Edmonton since early adolescence. She is a poet, translator, an author stories, essays and book reviews. Her work has appeared in anthologies, literary journals, in newspapers, on buses, and has been aired on the CBC Radio. In-Between Season, a poetry collection, was published by Rowan Books. Some Flowers Do Well in Flowerpots, a poetry chapbook, was published by em-press. Eyeing the Magpie a collection of poetry, and art, was published in 2007, in collaboration with Nancy Mackenzie, Rusti Lehay, Myrna Garanis and Julie Robinson.

Read more of Anna Mioduchowska’s poetry:
Islet Lake Trail
Blowing at the Sky
After the Storm, Banff National Park

Editor’s note: This poem is from Home and Away – a sequel to the bestselling Writing the Land (2007). Look for one poet to be featured each day as Alberta poets ponder the question “what is home?” and explore our complex relationship with working on, living with, exploiting and protecting our land and our home. For more information about the project, click here.

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