the poetry that matters

Alicia Lawrence

Alicia Lawrence is an MA student in the Department of Pacific and Asian Studies, at the University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C., Canada. She has previously been enrolled in a creative writing workshop at Capilano College, and periodically provides the Malahat Review newsletter with interviews with upcoming writers. Alicia recently visited Southeast Asia for MA research.


You gifted me
With a pretty grave

Showed me the confirmation
Of stone markers
To prove there existed a civilization

Offered a world of gardens
Years of silence gone unnoticed
The whisper of rustling leaves
For company

I drown in the soporific tease of flowers
Breathe in clouds of pollen,
Adorned with endless cascades of bouquets
I sink under the petals

You gently compel,
‘Let memory slip,
Leave the knowledge of the world
To encompass only this –‘
A sleepy line drawn in the sand

Hesitate to submit,
I anticipate the dark stain of your proud claim
Made on the day I lay my head

Unspoken truths interrupt:
Those dirt and dust tread streets across the ocean
Homes nested in hollowed concrete
Shelters best serve to protect from falling coconuts
That plummet from an endless stretch of grey, an industrial sky
And failed refuge in the quiet green of landscapes – poisoned with pesticide
Empty menus and tongue-bit smiles, to serve more food than anyone can afford
But surrounded by the quiet talk of closed communities, care as deep as daily living
Nature remembered in the body
Born human

Those are not imagined
Are only undercurrents unchecked
Across tightly sealed
Borders drawn
Against voice

Despise to accept,
‘Bound and tied behind this line is where she made her bed.’

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                                                                                                            April 12, 2012