Poetry

Subject Verb Object

IAN WILLIAMS

From Word Problems by Ian Williams. Published by Coach House Books in 2020.

But the object would not say to the subject, Objectverb subject. There was no fight. But subject wentto sleep facing the unfinished PAX closet, turned offturned away, in other words, from the object’s objectivecase pronoun. The object wanted to explain the constructionobject verb subject is a kind of grammatical impossibility.Also personal. Three-fifths personal. But subject’s personal pronounor inner child should not take it that way. Some phrasesliterally could not be said.                                        The syntactical problemcould be traced to the object’s possessive pronoun mother,another noun, whom the object suspects was unableto verb pronoun as more than an object. Object’s maternal friendsaid, Another noun verbed pronoun as best as pronoun couldthough pronoun wanted to be verbed differently. And that literallyand figuratively were embattled.                                        The object began to repeatthe sentence in question to the reflexive pronounin the PAX mirror. As a kind of question. Until wax drippedfrom the eyes. As a kind of statement, the subject floatedinto the room wearing an heirloom fur coat with red liningred silk lining   I can tell you now that it’s overbecause you may never otherwise touch the inside.

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IAN WILLIAMS

Ian Williams is the author of five books. His novel, Reproduction, won the Scotiabank Giller Prize. His last poetry collection, Personals, was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Robert Kroetsch Poetry Book Award. He’s online at ianwilliams.ca and @ianwillwrite.


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