Absolutist by Willow Loveday Little

Ropey vowel. Labral lobster fibrocartilage. Red sea of knot. I seem to find the subject of myself inescapable. Seem is the key word here, but where the lock? Open is spilling forward, out. I’m writing the same poem I wrote when I was twelve and knew only automata and the feel for sound. When I would read the dictionary, memorializing hemi demi semi quaver just so I could perform it for someone later on, when they caught me rolled up like a newspaper, sitting in the library corner of the classroom with a perfectly posed lap under my dictionary. Being seen reading the dictionary is validating because all art is performance. You’re reading this now, aren’t you? When I become aware of being seen, I am true. The paper bundle, spine cradled in self is only the sensation of weight. The dreams dreamt by the unformed are approximates at their best. My lips are a flock. My cheek checks me. The mirror of my making unmakes the mask as I smile schizophrenic. Do they know? Can they see through the veneer of my action to the tiger-barked truth: that words will never adequately convey how badly I desire to be good? That I am ashamed of wanting this, the way I’m ashamed of being seen looking at a glitzy dress in the window of a department store? The salvation of my god-playing is perhaps visible, in the incongruent linen of how my love seams to you. There are too many words. There are never enough.


Willow Loveday Little is a British-Canadian writer whose work has appeared in several publications; notably, The Dalhousie Review and On Spec. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University and has read at Accent, the Visual Arts Centre, Argo Reading Series and McGill’s Poetry Matters. Poems published in yolk literary magazine and The Selkie’s Resiliency anthology are forthcoming.

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