This is not feminism, not death, this
Is not a poem, not a life, not a trigger,
Not a window, not a painting, not
A persona, not a view, not an ocean,
These are not friends, not enemies,
Not survivors; they’re captured nothing.
This is not Rome, not Atlantis, there
Are not flying fish, or politically correct
Genetic variations. These are not eyes;
There’s no flag to be captured, no politics;
There’s no score, no way for this memory
To play on a big screen. There are no big
Screens; this is not a fairy tale, there are
No divers, no awards, no flash cards,
No examinations; this is not a postcard,
Your address is not on the envelope.
There is no envelope, no way out.
There’s nothing to escape, there’s no
Hopscotch, no whiskey. No relatives,
No cave paintings. This is not how we
Discover ourselves. There’s no screaming
Inside or out. There’s no in or out.
No infection, no lisp, no winding clock.
No wizard, no racoon. No culturally
Appropriate sign, no product placements.
No super bowl. No advertisements. No
Preservations. No glue. The people are not
Collections, quotations, essays. They are
Not out to get you. This is not a memory
In need of reframing. This is not a need,
Not a test, not a calculation. We are not
A comedy. We are not erring on the side
Of caution. There are no sides. This is not
A rubric cube. This is heaven. Don’t get
Comfortable. You won’t have to learn
To live with it.


Jill M. Talbot's writing has appeared in Geist, Rattle, subTerrain, PRISM, The Stinging Fly, and others. Jill won the PRISM Grouse Grind Lit Prize. She was shortlisted for the Matrix Lit POP Award and the Malahat Far Horizons Award. Jill lives in Vancouver, BC.