Fathom 2002



Inside Cover




Kate Buttery (3)
Julie Perkins(5)
Jennifer Lyn Durkee (2)
Kirsten Horn
John W. Parker (2)
Elena Krasnova
Jonathan Samuel (3)
Sarah Riley
Melodie Umanetz
Olivia Brown and Jessica Young
Fergus J. O'Connor V, Esq. (2)
Gareth Robinson
Charles Ryan (2)
Solange Hupe (4)
Dani Anna Jansen (2)



Angela Pratt
Travis West


Kate Buttery



Thunder Bay

Highway 17
wound a thin gray thread through the broken rocks
of the Canadian Shield.
Above the road, hills shrouded in green clouds of trees
revealed clefts of water­-
lakes; still as dark eyes
flat as scraps sky
and cliffs where the trees gave way to smooth gray stone
sheer and lined as the clear edges of shattered glass.

But at night in Thunder Bay
the wind swept through the city streets
-a wind cast ashore from Lake Superior
to slide on dusty belly through dusk-cloaked streets-
­past the faceless windows of black-eyed stores
beneath muddy yellow streetlights and
trees stunted and bent as wizened old men.

Out on the highway, the grassy shoulder
was studded with lupines pink and white.
In Thunder Bay we ate Chinese food
in the dim recess of a room where
smoke sagged above our heads
and men with salt-gray hair
sucked on beer bottles
while overhead, the red fringes of the lampshades
swayed dizzily to the hum of the fan.

In the morning, the gray rope of highway looked
like escape
but instead led us past creeks and rivers, their names
- Black Sturgeon, Black Fox, Dead Horse­
a lexicon of darkness
as though they too rested on the ledge
of the wide black mouth of the Lake
a mother who knew each of hers by name.


[The silence seeps beneath the open window]

The silence seeps beneath the open window­-
its ghost-gray arm traces slow circles on my back.
Below on the street the clatter of the night
rolls by on its rattling wheels.
A woman cackles
crouching beneath the fluorescent light of the laundromat
the snake tattoo on her ankle
encircles the bone like smoke.
In the room above the street I lie, rigid
to the damp breath of silence in my ear
while the white-washed walls leer out,
their glare a reproach to the clear sleepless eye of the night
that glides, moon-heavy, down to the street,
over the walls, the pavement, the shadowed figures
who melt like water into
the dark mouths of alleys.
The streetlight casts its toothless grin
suspended on its chain of steel
while startling gray-green weeds
split the lips of the pavement and
dart forth verdant tongues­-
heedless that this moonless night
belongs to them no longer, but to the
cracked face of the sidewalk
the empty plastic bags that shiver in the gutter
and to the silence, as it slouches hungry
into the night.



The sky darkens,
and my one eye snaps open, twitches
automated to hold the night at bay.
Against my small pool of light,
the darkness presses its heavy back
while I cast my halo of fluorescence onto the
cracked pavement below.
Tonight, visitors­-
a man and woman, walking arm in arm
pause within my sphere.
The woman wears a red dress, black shoes.
She tilts her head back to accept the mouth of the man.
His overcoat flutters soundlessly as he presses
his hand against her back, her hips resting
lightly against my spine.
They pause; their low voices rise toward
my unblinking oyster eye like smoke
and then they dissolve like apparitions into the dusk.
The night shuffles on;
I yearn to bury myself in the folds of darkness
but still light leaks from my mouth.
A paper bag bustles by,
busy as a small dog- its cheeks inflate and deflate
as the wind withers and gusts,
and a man, his bald scalp gazing up at me like
the smooth ball of the moon
shambles past, hands clasped behind his back.
I long for sleep, to give in to the soft sibilant blackness
that lisps at my furrowed edges.
But I am the lighthouse, the witness.
My one-eyed skull leers down
denying the night again and again.


last updated August 17, 2007 | © 2007 Fathom Publishing
poetry, prose, and artwork © individual authours | website created by Alana Paul