Author Archives: Dawn Macdonald

About Dawn Macdonald

Dawn Macdonald lives in Whitehorse, Yukon, where she was raised off the grid. She holds a degree in applied mathematics and used to know a lot about infinite series. Her poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in FOLIO, Full Bleed, Grain, Riddle Fence, Room Magazine and Vallum.

This isn’t the house. / Unregulated Waste Management Facility

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This isn’t the house.


This isn’t the house I grew up in.
We’re both set in our ways.
I’ve walked on trails that pass uncomfortably close to trees.
I’ve walked on trails that humans don’t use.
I found the head of an animal with fur still on.
This isn’t the house I grew up in.
We’ve both gone our own ways.
I spooked a grouse and set him running.
I found the house of an animal with fur still on.
I walked past the feathers of the caught grouse, tumbled.
She’s gone to feed the fox.
This isn’t the head I grew up in.
I walked past feathers, loose, and lasting after everything alive has left.


collage showing a farm house, old photo of a mother and children, crops, and chickens
Past/oral by Brenda Whiteway


Unregulated Waste Management Facility


Listen, all kids love
to play at the dump.

I have no sister, but
the trash is flesh to me.

We all have normal dreams
of empty roll-on deodorant.

I have no brother, yet
I’m wearing cast-off shoes.

Kids like it. It’s
a chicken-bone graveyard.

Each one could be
the finger-joint of the gone twin.


Listen to Dawn Macdonald read “This isn’t the house.” and “Unregulated Waste Management Facility.”



Manner of Speech

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Manner of Speech

I wrote a computer program to write haiku. This was in 1994 or thereabouts. I wrote it in PASCAL. Here is its best work:

art by Karen Boissonneault-Gauthier showing a woman's face and computer keyboard

Interfacing by Karen Boissonneault-Gauthier

The taller teacher
enlightens slowly, but this
ignorance consumes.

Or rather not its best work. It had no best work, because I hadn’t written into the program any sort of function for besting. It only had functions for working. The above work is the only work it made that I remember 25 years later.

The other day I was walking down 3rd Avenue and I heard a man say, “It’s about yay big,” which is a thing my father says. “Yay” or “yea”? Or “yae”? I thought of my father but it didn’t occur to me to call him. I actually need to call him for practical purposes to do with a kid and a car but I’ve been putting it off. I don’t like talking on the telephone.

Suppose that I had written a computer program for having telephone conversations. It wouldn’t have to have good ones. It would just have to have ones that followed the rules.

“Do you know who this is?”
“Me neither.”