Three Poems by Méira Cook

New Work

Listen to a studio recording of Méira Cook reading her poems.

Meira Cook, Jan. 21 2011

Méira Cook at the University of Manitoba, with some rules on the wall

Adam Father

He wakes up naked and drunk as a bear
on sun-fermented garbage.
Hungover and queasy and riled up by bees.
Nothing going well today, he moans,
life being short and the craft, ah, long.
Still, might as well take a stab at it,
lording it over misrule and tending the shame
that transforms a garden into Genesis.

So there he goes, stalking through the world
on his back legs, pelting down half-eaten words
from a great height.
Whatever he touches shrieks and bellows or writhes
like the alphabet.
A is for Crocodile, he croaks,
dashing through the Everglades. See you later!
And B is for the Wasp that stings him and C —
C is for the wide blue Ocean
in which he nearly drowns.

But nothing can drown him, our Adam
whose resolution is steadfast
and breezy at last, and buoyant
as a stone boat.

Impatient Father

The tree made a nest and sang, put out blossoms
then fruit then pies and crumbles,
caught kites in its arms, paper bags, a kitten.
Where where where? sang the wind, a cappella,
and Eve looked everywhere,
but the search for apples was fruitless.
Drop everything! went the singing telegram.
Drop everything and hurry to the Gate
where your Emperor waits for you
with flowers in his beard.

Dear Father

You say that bird outside your window
keeps imitating an alarm clock
and waking you up in the middle of the night?
Must work the fat off your nerves all right.
And while we’re on the subject of nerve,
here’s how to stop the onions from bullying you:
Peel under running water.
Hold a kitchen match between your teeth.
Salt your cutting board.
Or lightly pepper your fancy.
Don’t worry, it’s vegetables not grief,
it always was. Just wait it out
is what you taught me: birds die
or run out of batteries at least, or learn
other mimicries. A bottle of gin, perhaps,
clouding over gently in the freezer
of your good regard.

Hope so,
Your son.

–from the sequence “The Book of Imaginary Fathers”


Méira Cook

Méira Cook is a Winnipeg writer and unrequited reader. Her first novel, The House on Sugarbush Road, will be released in September from Enfield & Wizenty.