Song for Barbie / Song for Leonard

Song for Barbie


Why do I suspect it did not
go well for you, bright light?
In our four-corner village, you
flared briefly.

sculpture of ceramic dress and copper wire

Radiant Walker by Nicole Bauberger

If I coloured in the lines, you
barely noticed the page,
crayoning instead the windows,
the skies beyond. Wild child,

I remember a circle of girls
in gym class, asked in turn
to invent a dance move,
yours a full-body slide none

of us would try, you laughing,
plumped into cut-offs and tube
top. Tall poppy, when I worked
in the general store, customers

by the meat cooler
gossiped about the woman
at the counter covered in love bites.
Black sheep, of course the woman

was you – free love, free rein, free
form, freedom just another word
for outside the circle, off the
charts, over the edge, nothing left

to lose.


Song for Leonard


He has visions too, our Leonard. He saw the Queen
of Heaven and will build a cabinet for her of black
cherry wood, with seven drawers. And there’s the
mountain lion that comes to have its paw bandaged,

and a key broken in its lock. We call them visions.
Visions is the kinder word. Where Leonard sits
in his chair at the front of the general store
he may not appear to be a prophet. He’s not

shaving much now. Or washing. He put his car
in the ditch – the deep, steep, water-filled one
along Chiswick Line – and walked away. He shouldn’t
be driving, we all agree, but whose job is it to stop

him? We will laugh behind his back or to his face
but come to him when needed, with rides, snow-
clearing, casseroles; community’s rounds of damage
and undoing. Leonard, Leonard: this is the mercy,

the frayed and beautiful mercy in this world.
Leonard, here’s your coffee; here’s your
chair. Sit. Talk a while.


About Susan Haldane

Susan Haldane lives on a farm near the northern boundary of Algonquin Park. Her chapbook Picking Stones is published by Gaspereau Press. Her work has appeared in a number of Canadian journals, and in the anthology Desperately Seeking Susans (Oolichan 2012). In 2019, she was thrilled to win the Magpie Award for her poem "A Short History of Space Travel." Her poem "Thin-Skinned" was selected for Best Canadian Poetry 2020.

About Nicole Bauberger

Nicole Bauberger is an artist of settler heritage who has made her home in the traditional territory of the Kwanlin Dun First Nation and the Ta’an Kwach’an Council, in Whitehorse, Yukon, since 2003. Her art practice varies. Finely honed skill in oil painting, begun over a 5-year apprenticeship in the 90s, roots her artwork. And yet, she will use encaustic, acrylic, clay, beadwork, teabags, doilies and crochet yarn, research and writing, or songs on the ukulele, as required. She embraces collaboration with other artists, bringing to these occasions the rich skills she’s developed working solo with these various materials and her observations and imagination. She has toured exhibitions through public galleries across Canada since 2000. Since Covid, her practice, though still outward-looking, has rooted itself more deeply in her home community of Whitehorse. When the pandemic closed all the galleries, she began the Dalton Trail Trail Gallery, an ad hoc changing exhibition of sculpture in installation, in the woods off her backyard, reaching new audiences closer to home, as well as further away through social media, publications and other means. See more of her work at, #baubergernicole, @Nicole Bauberger, @Dalton Trail Trail Gallery. (Artist photo by David Bigg.)

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