& once more through a wounded sonnet blows
a little room for breath now swollen late
although each line i pluck is broken, parched,
& you’re july summer dead at 26
the boilermaker with the face tattoo
who i got used to seeing at sunrise
exhaling those leaden calgary months
our ritual silent ash inventories
after loss blossomed to a dull litany.
there’s nothing monumental about it
the slow, ordinary life of mourning, but
i apostrophize dead friends now because i’m not capable—
the white towel beneath my father’s jaw.
when you have washed the face,
close the mouth
before the body starts to stiffen.
if the mouth will not stay shut,
place a rolled-up towel or washcloth under the chin.
if this does not provide enough support
to keep the mouth closed,
use a light-weight, smooth fabric scarf.
place the middle of the scarf at the top of the head,
wrapping each end around the side of the face,
under the chin and up to the top of the head
where it can be gently tied.
these supports will become unnecessary
in a few hours and can be removed.
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
in part for the author’s participation in the TEXT/SOUND/PERFORMANCE: Making in Canadian Space conference at University College Dublin, Ireland, April 25-27, 2019.
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy
Cover Photo by Clarke Kinaschuk 2013
Kyle Kinaschuk is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at the University of Toronto, where he researches the politics and form of lament in contemporary poetry situated within Canada. His poetry has appeared in journals such as The Capilano Review, filling Station, PRISM international, The Puritan, Hart House Review, Poetry is Dead, and FreeFall Magazine.
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