This Magazine

Progressive politics, ideas & culture

November-December 2017


Poetry by Gary Barwin

Gary Barwin

in the end
they say

all poems are about hope
but out of money

I took this poem’s hope
and pawned it

I spent the money on a rhyming dictionary
went home and looked out the window

from my apartment you can see Hamilton mountain
which is really just an escarpment

like a mountain without hope
it has no peak

then I found a compartment in my body
I’d never found before

I twirled my nipple

and opened it
WTF inside me was hope

no bigger than
a grain of sand

hope is the perfect thing
if you have no money and

want 2000 of something
but there was only

a single grain and I held it
like a baby, a single tiny baby

I ran into the street
or I first ran down the hall

and into the elevator
pressed the appropriate button

waited, descended, exited
then ran across the lobby

across the parking lot
and then into the street where

there were
one thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine

other people
each holding a tiny grain

between their fingers
and we just looked at each other

Gary Barwin’s novel Yiddish for Pirates was a Governor General’s Award and Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist and won the Leacock Medal for Humour. His new poetry collection is No TV for Woodpeckers.

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