I Open the Dryer and a Robin Sails Out

Winner of the 2016 Walrus Poetry Prize Readers’ Choice Award You are driving a bus across Alberta, deciding between seasons, plucking aphids and roses. Over mountains I feel the peak …

Illustration by Jason Logan

Winner of the 2016 Walrus Poetry Prize Readers’ Choice Award

You are driving a bus across Alberta,
deciding between seasons, plucking aphids and roses.

Over mountains I feel the peak of a horizon before it
breaks in half and spits up floes of mayflies.

You keep vultures at bay with cigarette butts,
throw darts for chops in every rusted legion.

Never step in the same puddle of warm beer twice
we learned the sticky way.

Gasoline rainbows the road, a clock made of stone,
a chair swivels in two official languages.

I write the word rich instead of king
and it becomes an act of will.

I’m sure I found ticks of whiplash under my skin.
I may never drive again.

While you are driving, you split the night
into finer units of night.


The Hal Jackman Foundation, committed to fostering creativity and enriching our community through the arts, has generously supported the prize since its inauguration. The foundation also supports poetry in every issue of The Walrus.

Hal Jackman Foundation
Poetry in Voice

This appeared in the January/February 2017 issue.

Adèle Barclay
Adèle Barclay's (@AdeleVBarclay) debut poetry collection, If I Were in a Cage I’d Reach Out for You won the 2017 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize..