Self-isolation with universe

By .

The universe has a peculiar reaction to our sincere desires.
— Mary Ruefle, “Someone Reading a Book”

Sincere desire: to call
today the worst birthday
but I don’t care.

The cat is all now you know
how it feels. House finches
swing on the feeder,

chuffed to see me
behind glass. My sincere desire
is to record a teaching video.

I am pale but I explain
the field of cultural production
to an empty room:

could be a metaphor but
I’m guessing not.
Doubt is my peculiar

stir crazy. On my last walk by
the creek, a woman bolted
when she saw me

fifty metres off, startled
like she was a deer and
I a hunter or a virus.

Just me in the woods
looking for rushing water
to listen to this week when

the Big Strange merged with
the Big Lonely: everybody’s
all-time ailment.

The cat is never sincere
but she flings one back
foot over the keyboard. Stay.

About Tanis MacDonald

Tanis MacDonald is the author of six books of poetry and essays, including Out of Line: Daring to Be an Artist Outside the Big City (Wolsak and Wynn 2018). Her fourth book of poetry, Mobile, was longlisted for the Toronto Book Award in 2020. In 2021, Tanis won the Open Season Award (CNF) in The Malahat Review for her personal essay "Mondegreen Girls." Her work has appeared recently in The Goose, The Fiddlehead and Hamilton Arts & Letters, and in the anthologies Far Villages and Best Canadian Poetry 2020. Tanis lives in Waterloo, Ontario.

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