UnspokenThe things I don't know how to say are among my favourite things.The things I am unsure of are among my favourite things.What is beyond necessary.What has been picked overa hundred times by squirrelsand pigeons and crows and ratsedging drynessof our neglectI hated my 2020 tarot reading because it was correctThat card just fell out!It's just a streetlight mistaken for the moon!This truth about myselfthat I am telling myselfafter specifically asking for itis not the truth I wanted.I didn't expect swords stabbingmy body / brokencups strewn in front of anothermountainous form.I only slap myself in the shower sometimes.You could mistake the sound for water on tile.I only scratch next to scars / I onlymake them bigger / I onlyexpand the wound.Maybe it's enough to be a streetlamp, ora picture of the moon taken with an iphone.Is the moon cutting herselfwith her nailsin the bathroom again?Is that why she shows up fuzzy?You can't keep denyingyour relation to the sun.You can't keeppointing back at it. The earthis closer, further, closer again.Sure, certain times of year flare,loom, deepen craters dug out, sand-blown.But you've been safe for ages.*We all think gravity is a physical certitude,inescapable,accept life in a battered pattern,long, long, constant circle.But like all moons,like all lamps, light travels from onestation to another —truth disruptslaw disruptssignal createsstatic to rearrangeyour life within.So just admit you hate baths, moon.Stop focusing on the water, on its absence, instead —at dusk, when you rise, go for a walk.Take a selfie with a snowmansomeone else built.They chose to build it.They put seeds as eyes.I won't bother trying to take a picture of you.I'll be disappointed.Is this progress?Slipping intosomething more comfortable?/ slippinginto something?Small shipsShe couldn't relaxthey'll say.It was easier than she made it out to bethey'll say.*I often forget my life is mine.I forget about choice, andthat thing about small shipsin wide oceans —how small degreescan shift a course,but no one talks abouthow they're stillon the same ocean,how all oceans are really the same ocean —wind is wind,coral's still dying,and even if you adjust your pathand end up elsewhere,creatures migrate too — maybethat's the same shark as before,maybe it's justa cloud of anchoviespicked off one by one in a frenzy.*I never went whale-watching when I lived on the coast where you were born. I only saw a breach by accident, years ago, on a horrible vacation on the other side of the world, but it was probably the same whale I would have seen in cold waters, so I stopped looking.
Conyer Clayton is an Ottawa-based artist and gymnastics coach, originally from Louisville, Kentucky. She has 6 chapbooks; most recently Trust Only the Beasts in the Water (above/ground press, 2019). In 2018, she released a collaborative album with Nathanael Larochette, If the river stood still. She is the winner of Arc's 2017 Diana Brebner Prize and The Capilano Review's 2019 Robin Blaser Poetry Contest, and writes reviews for Canthius. Her debut full-length collection of poetry, We Shed Our Skin Like Dynamite (Guernica Editions), appeared in May 2020.