Ethelbert: Ten Days in May


From Then/Again. Published by Nightwood Editions in 2017.

                                                           day two

the clock ticks, but I can’t see the time. the breeze from the window

causes sheets to bow and billow. light filters through textiles

all around. I am hiding out. I am hiding in. I am hiding.

                                                            day three

we used twine and tacks and safety pins. some corners tied knots.

four of us built the fort in about an hour, now it’s only me.

time passes differently when you are alone.

                                                            day four

I sleep in the great room where the walls hang from the rafters.

morning sun: green leaves flicker on stems outside. I watch

the window. no one approaches.

                                                            day five

the fort starts to age: seams split, walls drift, new passageways

appear, cracks in the roof. last night I was cold in my sleep.

I pulled a green wall down and wrapped myself in it.

now there is another way out to the kitchen.

                                                            day six

soon I will take it down (the couch a spring-dented hull:

crumbs, pennies where the cushions belong) I don’t know

yet how. the fort is a good place to think.

                                                            day eight

inside, there are questions but no answers. peaks and parted

openings make an acceptable form, a temporary space,

unresolved/deteriorating resolve. the questions are patient.

we wait together, me and them.

                                                           day nine

something has changed: the fort is just a fort. I am not hid

after all. besides, who is searching?



Michelle Elrick is the author of To Speak. Her poetry has appeared in Poetry Is Dead and on CBC television. She was a finalist in the CBC Poetry Prize in 2015. She lives in Halifax.


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