How We See
“No telescope is more powerful than the prejudice of the person looking through it.”
Kevin Ashton, How To Fly A Horse, 2015
The spider in your eye is
the doctor says. A viscous
membrane afloat in the field.
As we age… a pause. I blink,
his eyes soft, brown, my cheeks warm.
…the vitreous changes in
texture the gel shrinks, it shifts
in the eye’s centre sometimes
forcing the retina to…
He slows, waits as a tear rolls…
no, no, please don’t…it’s intact.
The shadow will disappear
if not, you’ll get used to it…
you won’t see it anymore, Ma’m.
Oh, I know about shift, young man,
contraction, detachment, too.
Becoming accustomed to
that which I expect, like the astronomer Lowell searching deep
into the night through
the tightened aperture of his telescope trained on Martian canals, cracks, lines, and spokes to prove extraterrestrial life on distant planetary worlds all the while mapping the web
of mirrored retinal veins:
his own eye.
Poor Percival he could not
see—never did—the error
of his ways. Certain blindness.
The arachnid’s limbs sway with
every blink cloud my vision swirling dark threads across my sight so damn
annoying I wonder will I ever not see its foul ink blot my
A certain blindness which for once, at least, is only
a bloody spider.
They praise my looks so
I invite them in
the camera too
my lover but much harder
to control I make them take
Take then Take after goddamn
to perfect her tilt,
eyes half-closed, awakening
from her dream sideways smile then
a yawn, suggestive even
in bed I scent No. 5
so she won’t ever
Alone, jaw clenched, I knit
booties while I wait
for the next, the last
Unshed tears sparkle
the camera loves
So they say they can’t see my
knotted womb, a den
of scars where anger lives nothing else
Let them growl, curse me, let them
wait for who kept the very
President on hold: “The Late
Cheers, applause but then
by night her breathy
whispers dancing feet
tire me so I can’t
Take one, Norma Jean.
Just one more oh take three then…
they’ll be sorry so
sorry I’m sorry I did
try to call but—it was too
I had no sympathy
for my mother. In winter, chores done
stamping our boots brushing snow
the windows open wide her face bright
red as if from joy or a glass
of wine her upper lip dripping sweat
as she kneaded dough making
She’d pat and punch until it squeaked then
declare it ready to rise
Queen of the table she’d serve it warm
spread with butter always on
Friday fresh bread to go with fish so
delicious for Years until she hit
We’d slam the door crying why
freeze us out like this? Bread tough
to chew, good for nothing but
her knack, we grumbled eating
store-bought bread. Dad got a machine but
she never even opened
Her chronic dizzy spells, night sweats all
for attention an excuse to lie
down on the couch as, not silently,
at her highs & lows wildly cleaning
house then falling into her bed
exhausting us, father, siblings &
I sliding into shells fashioned for
Ourselves against the stark Cold.
Only once married myself did I
see how our father never
cooked a meal scrubbed a floor changed
a diaper he hid in his paper
watching TV cheering from his
La-Z-Boy front row seat beer in hand
world’s biggest hockey fan waiting for
her to wait on him he never
changed four beds bathing us Sunday night
heating our sheets so we could jump in
after the Sullivan show toasty
warm with a kiss from Topogigo
bought a card or present baked a cake
for each birthday filled the stockings at
Christmas made feasts each year in & out
baked us treats she did not eat
Maybe he tried to help before my
Back Then in every home a
He: Bread Winner/a She: Bread Maker
After fifty years her indenture
to an End after all (happily).
Not. Table laid with dry sandwiches.
Ashes sprinkled on land auctioned off.
This winter night I twist & turn I
sweat & toss pulse racing in heat to
chasten a blade of steel while my love
dreams on the shore of my moon-
forsaken sea I
Burn in an oven hot enough to bake
Three times you set me ablaze
Just to be sure.
I died the first time drowned in
Words became ash in my mouth.
“Jesus,” I cried.
Onlookers stood silently
hoping to God
Executioner quaked in
fear for his Soul
But followed your orders each
Why take such vengeance on a
Just a girl of no learning,
Yet I led the Dauphin’s men
generals crowned a king and
frightened you to
“Again,” you screamed
torching my extremities.
Rope binding my
hands feet fell away like your
charges. I spoke only the
You betrayed your laws trying
for passion, dressing for War
Hearing messages I could
My armour worn against the
likes of you
Assaulted slashed reviled I,
the Virgin of Orléans,
dared to ride my horse astride.
“Guilty,” you said and I was
The final fire
burnt my heart to pure Carbon.
No bones left to
venerate God forbid I
should become a
My ashes tossed upon the
Seine you nodded.
“Good,” you said. “Gone.” You signed the
the breeze still sighs
in your deaf ears.
Jehanne, it breathes, Jehanne.
A bold girl’s voice
You always try in vain to
LG Pomerleau (B.Ed., M.Ed.) began writing poetry and fiction at age ten. Retired from principal-ship since 2013, Lise has written two novels, is completing a third and writes poetry. A long-time member of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta and the Canadian Author’s Association, her poetry won Honourable Mention in the National Capital Writing 2021 Anthology of the Canadian Authors Association. Her poetry will appear in upcoming editions of HerStory, Alternating Current and Adelaide Literary Magazine. History, nature and family inspire her writing.