Incantation

One hand pushes the swing, the other holds an open book, / paper valley of an elsewhere.

A photo of the poet, who is smiling at the camera and has short, dark hair. Behind her is a lime-green and black background.
The Walrus

Cider light of spring
perforates the maples—

they bloom in tight vermilion packets
that the squirrels chew, discard.

Fabric of small aggregates of families,
pushbikes, buckets, stuffies.

Single thunder of the metal slide undenting.
The mothers clutch coffees, they wave and relate.

I’m not quite right.
One hand pushes the swing, the other holds an open book,

paper valley of an elsewhere.
And an axe, Kafka said—

love, I recalibrated all catastrophes
when you were born,

and they were worse—
the sloping lines I read

in gulps while automatically repeating
wheeeeeee

as you fly elliptically out
of my attention, which should be undivided, but is

skulking for the possibility
that words

could suddenly align the elements—
then every gesture

has a choreography: rope climber in its tilted
orbit, woman emptying

a shoe of sand, fledgling
robin’s skimming flight—and I’m

forgiven, bookish, motherly, because the weave,
made visible, leaves nothing out,

not even you, not even me.

Sadiqa de Meijer
Sadiqa de Meijer's debut collection, Leaving Howe Island, was a nominee for the Governor General's Award for English-language poetry in 2014 and for the 2014 Pat Lowther Award.