Sunflower (1966)

Annick MacAskill

Annick MacAskill's poetry has appeared in journals and anthologies across Canada and abroad, with recent publications in The Humber Literary Review, Best Canadian Poetry 2019, Prism, The Stinging Fly, and Plenitude. Her debut collection, No Meeting Without Body (Gaspereau Press, 2018), was nominated for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and shortlisted for the J.M. Abraham Award. Her second collection, Murmurations, will be published by Gaspereau this spring. She lives in Halifax.

“Nothing less lily-like could possibly be imagined. She’s a sunflower, if anything, brash, strong, plain, and yet reaching up in some way.”

“‘You didn’t destroy me, Rachel. Not that you meant to.’” (Calla MacKie)

-Margaret Laurence, A Jest of God

A literary theme is a moral affair—
I can’t get away with much in this life
but I can paint the walls lavender.
I can protest until I fail,
reach for the shoulder
of a fellow schoolmarm
where she meets her cliff’s edge.
Where she crashes towards the world
rather than take me up on—my hand between
my own broad thighs. At any rate,
it was just so I could sleep, skin shining
under the moon’s heavy gleam. Alone I mother
nothing but birds, learn
new tongues, a promising
devotion. I hiss the truth in these accents—
that the desire I was born with,
never asked for,
might fly through the Tabernacle,
skirt the guilt-crowned parishioners—
their hands like strangled doves—
burst through the windows
and go out into the night, where like a fawn,
it would blink and know
the dark sky—a thick blue-black
like a sheet of crushed velvet
perforated here and there
by paradise. Forget the sunken rot
of my insides. Instead, I offer
this nothing gift—the revival
ceremony, a vow of yellow paint
for your bundle of soft baby, itself
nothing but a malignant dream. Though even I
can only try so long, ask so much, want so little—
Rachel, you who like heaven
are a mystery I could never hold,
only glimpse—
don’t, Rachel, don’t.


Pour citer cette page

Annick MacAskill, « Sunflower (1966) », MuseMedusa, no 8, 2020, <https://archives.musemedusa.com:443/dossier_8/macaskill/> (Page consultée le 03 December 2022).


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