DS Stymeist


(listen to the poem, read by the author)

In the aftermath of loss,
the attenuated,
strung-out nights of half-sleep,
the toxic,
benumbing shock,
the wound of sea wasp.

Mirrored darkly to me,
the hidden smear
of phosphor
imprinted on skin
by the press of your forehead
to mine,
that rubbing off
of fish-scales, an invisible smudge
that burns a hole, a socket,
into my skull.
This refracted presence,
collapsed star, the surest way
through deep water.

My chest fills with night.
Night inhabits this room. I drown
in it, fill with it.
Knotted neck muscles, tissues
stitched along vertebrae,
spasm, twitch, release.

Darkness, I’ve forgotten
how to swim into oblivion,
sink with its undertow,
allow myself to be dragged along
its tides, swept onto
the rocks of the antipodes.

When I wake, I gasp for air.

I’ve forgotten my face, forgotten
who I am.

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About the Author

DS Stymeist’s debut collection, The Bone Weir (Frontenac 2016), was a finalist for the Canadian Author’s Association Award for Poetry. His writing has appeared in numerous magazines, some of which you might have heard of. Alongside fending off Crohn’s disease, he teaches creative writing and crime fiction at Carleton University. Born in Detroit, Michigan, he currently resides in Ottawa, Canada, and was the former president of VERSeFest, Ottawa’s international poetry festival.