Poetry

Gulag

Old friend, you’ve caught me
at my most lost, limp limbed
in the gulag of unemployment.

I have become God’s
ombudsman: he scrapes his plate
into my lap.

Remember that prayer I sent from
Verdun, as you shoved human
bones down the mouths

of the latrines, shouting,
Every one is food for worms,
and I knew not if one

meant man or bone?
When I ask for that prayer
back, God changes the subject. This is

life after armistice, old friend:
you leave to consult your adviser,
who leaves to consult his adviser.

You give something to God,
and he keeps it.
To have something on you.

This appeared in the January/February 2014 issue.

Ben Ladouceur won the 2013 Earle Birney Poetry Prize. His first collection of poems, Otter, was selected as a best book of 2015 by the National Post, and nominated for a Lambda Literary Award.