Three Poems by Stuart Ross

SONNET 45

first line by Kim Fahner; last line by Robert Hogg

These wings of theirs,
they are nailed on
with nails of theirs.
I don’t know the exact
mechanics. They curl
their bleeding lips
into the wings of the wind.
Their eyes water.
From beyond the trees:
a roar of flames.
Whose wings sailed into
the broken chimney
curling from a burned book
curling from its chimney.

RESURRECTION

“Today I am practicing animal stares.”
“It’s an air ballet for migrating birds.”
“We owe it a resurrection.”
– Dag T. Straumsvåg

I reach into the sky and pluck two stars.
I jam them in my face for eyes.
A fox and a gestetner walk by and shrug.
Today I am practising animal stares.

On the stove, the sauce is bubbling over.
The cat’s cancelled her subscription to Debt Magazine.
The house rises up past the telephone wires.
It’s an air ballet for migrating birds.

The election results are indeterminate.
Every child is entitled to gum.
Judy Garland’s portrait falls to the floor.
We owe it a resurrection.

MY LIFE AS A CARTOON

I became a cartoon
depicting a tin of tuna
whose lid rolled back like a tongue.
My parents chose not to prolong
my suffering and woke me, crowing,
“See, we put you to bed in a crinoline
netting, and told you not to crinkle
your thoughts, to focus on a single freckle.”
Behind Yosemite Park in Fresno!
I reached into the snow and formed a snowball,
beaned them, and out into the world did waddle.


Stuart Ross is the winner of the 2019 Harbourfront Festival Prize for his contributions to Canadian literature and literary community. His 20 books include A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent (winner of the Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Poetry; Wolsak and Wynn, 2016), and Buying Cigarettes for the Dog (winner of the ReLit Prize for Short Fiction; Freehand Books, 2009). His poetry has been translated into French, Slovene, Russian, Spanish, and Estonian. Stuart lives in Cobourg, Ontario.