Four Poems from Hypotheticals


By Leigh Kotsilidis

By Any Name

When jackals’ baying is both backdrop
and foreground, when forest

is conifers and impenetrable
fence, when mongoose predator

equals mongoose prey, which truth
will the brain feign?

A lyrebird’s call appropriates
any sound it fancies. Above us,

shithawks flock
to mock us. Featherbrained,

we agree bullshit is the best
decoy. The average vocabulary

is 10,000 words, and one
easily stands in for another.

It is all the same.
For example, you, me

and the Cecropia moth,
born speechless, wriggling

free, only to flop atop
the first moth we see.

Before Meteorologists

With rain we gauge the split rail’s give
and take, the shimmy-shake of a chair leg,
power lines that wheedle, break. We take
it to the limit, risk high points, follow bird paths,
circle just once before landing.

In the way robins seize mayflies passing
and gliders dissolve into flittering bees,
we are swollen clouds fraying, flyways faltering,
snow-struck and wind-strung. The only space
is the space collapsing space creates.

It comes down to this: final drop, a single flick
of finger lightning. At this elevation our last
comforting thought is a spontaneous generation:
a transubstantiation of horsehair to snake,
clump of mud to snail, hailstone to whooping crane.

The Tin Woodman Turns Partisan

He counts our apples as he would
the dead: each one a head.

Apple strudel, apple pie,
apple crisp, apple sauce –

What we’ve lost will not return
to saplings, nor nourish him

for long. His axe will certainly slicken
the rest of us to saccharine, to rot.

All but one, of course. One apple
to hold above the horizon

like a sappy sunset, the aperture
of his eye. Though, he opines,

not quite round enough, not quite
as firm. This one’s a wizened

son of a bitch, one
he is sure to candy,

stuff inside his growing cabinet
of atrocities.

Rodeo Romance

She pulls on her chaps, cowgirl hat,
walks past congregated grass
to the mall.

Champing at the bit,
her well-oiled bull
fits for the clink of a coin –

every day they make their getaway,
ride off into the sun display,
some unhappy heifer after.

Excerpted with permission from Hypotheticals by Leigh Kotsilidis, Coach House Books, 2011.

Post a Comment

Your email address is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


Leigh Kotsilidis

Leigh Kotsilidis grew up in Niagara Falls, Ontario. In 2009 and 2010 she was a finalist for the CBC Literary Awards. She is also co-founder of littlefishcartpress. She currently lives in Montreal.