Issue 6,  Poetry

Arbutus by Frances Boyle

The shades of lost girls inhabit you
sometimes, a flicker of celluloid
recognition, reflection of rage
or calculated malice in widened 
dark pupils. A dream—the falling 
goes on, ceaseless, and time
loses meaning. You will yourself 
to be fluid, to find the water table 
in your veins, nourish a shaggy-barked 
tree, comfort a shaggy-headed man, 
cradling his hurt in your lap
Where does pity lie, what aquifer strata 
will open, and what do the cuts
on his bark open you to? Raise your shelter-
tent, your bits of gleaming quartz, an anchor
on top of a mountain. Leafy branches
make filigree shadows on canvas walls.
Those showy shadows quake.

Note: the line “cradling his hurt in your lap” is from the poem “For Pat Lowther” in The Collected Poems of Patrick Lane.


Frances Boyle is the author of two poetry books (one published, one scheduled for fall 2019), an upcoming short story collection, and a Rapunzel-inspired novella, Tower. Her writing has appeared in anthologies and in print and online journals throughout Canada and in the U.S. She has recent work in Augur MagazineRogue AgentBarrenThe New Quarterlyantilang, Harbor Reviewuntethered and The Literary Review of Canada. Visit for more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *