Poetry

Stanza Is The Italian Word for Room

JENNIFER ZILM

From Waiting Room. Published by BookThug in 2016. Zilm’s writing has been published in PRISM International, Prairie Fire, Vallum and many others. She lives in Vancouver.

    On benedick’s retirement, or how I learned to stop worrying

            and love the catholic church

It is so holy to be old.

(Virus meas ingravecente atate non iam apte esse.)

Grandma in her white carpet stanza

refuses to install track lighting (it’s tacky)

to highlight the glitter in her dying eyes.

Opa shared his final stanza with two strangers,

crippled fingers scrawling fugues on scrap paper,

unable to unfold his fingers over the keys.

Oma in her condo marvels at the SkyTrain,

popeye pizza and hoards dietary supplements

in her kitchen drawer.

Uncle Morris in the Okanagan sun stanza

still smiled when his sister-in-law whispered chess

into his large-lobed ear while Aunt Barbara refuses to visit,

walking with one glass eye in the empty lots in Lumby

where she said his spirit lived.

Then Uncle George just dying

in his diapers, losing his dreams

of a Whites-only golf course

as a swift-fingered Filipina

sponged his slack limbs.

Finally you, benedick, your shoulders

bent forward in heavy red,

a supplicant posture, just another

broken holy father. 

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