Gillian Wigmore

From Soft Geography, published by Caitlin Press in 2007.

in plastic bags on tuesday nights

we load frozen corpses

from industrial-sized freezers

into the back of the suzuki.

we drive the kilometre fast

on the icy highway from the clinic to the mill

and in the compound, we dodge trucks and loaders

and stop at the base of the beehive burner. 

chips of fire blast from the grill at the tip

hot orange flares in the noisy dark;

we haul stiff dogs and half-calves

up the metal stairs onto the clanging conveyor

that rattles dead cats to the top

and rolls them into the blaze.

dad yells up these beasts are killing me

and his faint voice jogs with every clanking step.

I can see fur through this white bag

still trying to pretend I hold only garbage;

I carry the little ones, birds and guinea pigs and gophers

while dad wrestles the doberman

and the stiff-limbed german shepherd

onto the belt that will jerk them into the flames.

bang-clink sings the chain that pulls

the chips up and up

and rolls the frozen animals

into a caged and giant fire

that whooshes and rails away the winter.


Gillian Wigmore

Gillian Wigmore is the author of Soft Geography (Caitlin Press), shortlisted for the 2008 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, and shorter pieces in CV2, filling station, Inner Harbour Review and Geist.  She lives in Prince George.



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