Ethel­bert: Ten Days in May

Geist - - Findings - MICHELLE ELRICK

From Then/again. Pub­lished by Night­wood Edi­tions in 2017. Michelle Elrick is the author of To Speak. Her po­etry has ap­peared in Po­etry Is Dead and on CBC tele­vi­sion. She was a fi­nal­ist in the CBC Po­etry Prize in 2015. She lives in Hal­i­fax.

day two the clock ticks, but I can’t see the time. the breeze from the win­dow causes sheets to bow and bil­low. light fil­ters through tex­tiles all around. I am hid­ing out. I am hid­ing in. I am hid­ing.

day three we used twine and tacks and safety pins. some cor­ners tied knots. four of us built the fort in about an hour, now it’s only me. time passes dif­fer­ently when you are alone.

day four

I sleep in the great room where the walls hang from the rafters. morn­ing sun: green leaves flicker on stems out­side. I watch the win­dow. no one ap­proaches.

day five the fort starts to age: seams split, walls drift, new pas­sage­ways ap­pear, cracks in the roof. last night I was cold in my sleep. I pulled a green wall down and wrapped my­self in it. now there is an­other way out to the kitchen.

day six soon I will take it down (the couch a spring-dented hull: crumbs, pen­nies where the cush­ions be­long) I don’t know yet how. the fort is a good place to think.

day eight in­side, there are ques­tions but no an­swers. peaks and parted open­ings make an ac­cept­able form, a tem­po­rary space, un­re­solved/de­te­ri­o­rat­ing re­solve. the ques­tions are pa­tient. we wait to­gether, me and them.

day nine some­thing has changed: the fort is just a fort. I am not hid af­ter all. be­sides, who is search­ing?

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