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July-August 2017

Notes on Stones and Flowers

Poetry by Basia Gilas

Basia Gilas

I’ve made a note and stuck it to my desk:

Don’t be less of a flower but, could you be more of a stone at the same time?

—Mary Ruefle 

The first philosopher rubbed fur against amber, which then
drew feathers and hair to it like a magnet.
This was evidence of the stone’s soul he said.
Now we know you can get the same effect by rubbing balloons
on your head.

cast about loss for anything else stone could be

My parents bought their cemetery plot and headstone 30 years
ago, all that’s left for them is to die, dig and chisel.
On All Saints Day we place flowers at stones for those who have
died, in the same place where my parents’ stone sits.

wait for loss and stone to flower

A pensioner suffered third degree burns when a chunk of white
phosphorous he mistook for amber ignited in his pocket and
set him on fire.

A P sewn to my father’s chest barred his entry to a bunker
the eaves of which were no real shelter from phosphorous
bombs dropped in Hanover. He watched his friend die while
he survived groping in the flowers for anything loss could stone.

Basia Gilas is a letter carrier with Canada Post in Toronto, currently on elder care leave.

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