Marine monotony, ocean giving way to ocean, / a grammar of latitudinal minutes, hours, days.

The poet, Nyla Matuk, stares up toward the right corner of the frame. She has dark hair and wears a dark jacket. The background is periwinkle blue.
The Walrus

A slow summer evening
like an almost-boiled lobster.
I swelter in the city.
I peruse an art magazine.
I spot Sonia Delaunay in a half plié
wearing a large ruff around her neck,
holding its tulle with gloved hands,
desiring the sun or a flame
like a rehabilitating Pomeranian or mannered clown,
looking sideways at the camera,
her pantaloons delirious with chevrons.
She is painting a woman in a dress
of blue-and-white triangles—sea swells,
a summer of the usual peaches of late August,
then September evenings with cherry brandy, tree shadows,
shivers of a meteor shower, and the colour maroon,
reminder of a long-ago death.
I imagine Sonia’s springtime coming and going in lilac, lavender,
and moonstone, the circular affair of a family of cockatoos.
Only Prose of the Trans-Siberian could subdue that subtle chortling.
The Antarctic, a shrinking fable, became the heel of a loaf
of bread marking zones of discretion with the finality of ice.
Marine monotony, ocean giving way to ocean,
a grammar of latitudinal minutes, hours, days.
Listening to Sonia, words come to me in colours—
I speak into a bubble-making machine.
Her voice leads me to the tune of a laundromat’s
pale hum, toward implication. I think of death and I forget
death. Finally, I have no choice in this eleventh matter.
They say we are all, after all, in this together.
I call the exercise Awareness of an Order Foretold.
A ritual of soap and softener. Innocence, a lack of colour,
hysteria of an irreversible togetherness.
Shantung pyjamas pressed and whispering. Kimonos
in a princess’s dresser, sheltering a secret.
Cycle upon cycle, ruination to ruination.

Nyla Matuk
Nyla Matuk’s most recent books are Stranger (2016) and Resisting Canada: An Anthology of Poetry (2019). In 2018, Matuk served as the Mordecai Richler Writer-in-Residence at McGill University.

New Year, New Stories

Hello and Happy 2023!
As we start this new year, we need you now more than ever. In these uncertain times, it is crucial that reliable media remains available to everyone. That is why we depend on your support to keep our journalism accessible and independent. From the economy to political polarization, the challenges our society is facing this year are too important for half truths. At The Walrus, the future of journalism is funded by engaged citizens like you. Together, we can preserve the integrity of Canadian media and ensure that our democracy thrives. Will you join us?
With thanks,
Jennifer Hollett
Executive Director