This is
your address. You live
here. Your face
the colour of a migraine looks
at you in the mirror, scattering
white crows to the palm
of the wind. You watch
as ice enters
you, finds where
the broken places are, where
your eyes travel as clouds
blow smoke against
a yellowed sky, taking
a guided tour of
your soul, a hundred lights burning
in a hundred rooms at
dinnertime on a winter’s
night, a single
leftover leaf seeking
refuge from the snow sliding
its cold hands under
a tree’s bark. The tracks made
by a truck spreading
salt on a midnight road are
your history. You hear
it each time you wake
to change position.

Questions and Answers

Is there a specific moment that inspired you to pursue poetry?

I was writing (bad) poems before I even knew what poetry was. Writing was my way of relieving the pressure on my mind late at night so I could sleep. I didn’t know for years that such things as poetry journals or books existed. I wrote simply because I had to.

As a published writer, what are your tips or words of motivation for the aspiring poet?

If you find you have nothing to say, don’t write empty poems. Get out there and live your life: engage with others in their suffering and their passion until you find yours. Write because you have to, because you have something that needs to be said.

What inspired or motivated you to write this poem?

I live with quite severe migraines so they can’t help but enter my poems. The same with the neighbourhood I live in. My house is mostly made of glass so at night, I watch neighbouring windows, how they float gold in the darkness. Everything I see or hear ends up being documented and then used to tell my own history.

How did your writing process unfold around this poem? How did you write, edit, and refine it?

I don’t write poems in a linear way anymore. Instead, I keep a file of lines I hear as I go about my day: reading, walking, watching, listening. When I sit down to write a poem now, I open that file and look for the lines that speak to me, the ones that belong together even if they were written at different times. And then I construct, delete, add, and edit endlessly.

This poem “Snow/White” originally appeared in Lost and Found Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 236 (2018): 14.

Please note that works on the Canadian Literature website may not be the final versions as they appear in the journal, as additional editing may take place between the web and print versions. If you are quoting reviews, articles, and/or poems from the Canadian Literature website, please indicate the date of access.