Ren Pike

Online reptile vids

my daily go-to used to be disquisitive tomes
rubber-band snaps of politicos, driven
to know the now, as if by some how, informed
could be control, i'm over the phase where i rail
against him and him and her and them, no one
can hear me, here, inside this insulation
pink stuff and ears, thank god, maybe
true-north is the botheration with it so cold
insides are hot paradigm, i'm envious of crocs
languidly submerged, bathwater warm, taking
the temperature, up to nose holes, non-committal
no one nearby to get in the middle of the wallow
unconcerned with what's upstream

i want to slow-open one eye, like some machine-
controlled shade, no ripples, so still, only moving
when the hunger reaches its imperceptible
then strike, whip fast, all springs and snaps, able
to overtake whatever's looking to be ate, swallowing
quick, no fuss, digesting slowly in the mud, undisturbed
and unrepentant, guilt un-given, un-resentful
resting heartbeat constant and even, worries caught
in my mouth, always wash away

For Olive who needed what is almost lost 

when your wound broke open at the garden's edge
we expected the offal, sluice of life, instead
we saw wool, a red unwinding, fish bones littered
through, sure signs of happenings beyond handling
fears threaded our ankles until we fell in a heap
beside ourselves with you

and she alone knew what to do
picking you up, a cuff knit in the round
stitch by stitch, soft organs bloomed, her fingertips
tender thieves, stuffing crooks and cavities
pinning charms of silver, white nighties in reverse
making sure the bread was fresh
ever your pockets full


Be careful what you spit out. Nothing ever truly disappears.
Your genome can be recreated from just about anything.
Look at the fifty-seven hundred year old Birch tar chewer
from Denmark. Everyone now knows she had blue eyes
and herpes. Even without the artist rendering, it was a
gut punch. I'd be down by the river, too. Killing ducks.
Clutching my fur cloak.

We've all lost something.

Yesterday, I was scraping ice off the sidewalk. Budget chipper
in hand. Nose running. Mouth breathing. Motivated by thoughts
of passerby falls. Fines and laws. Cursing winter and the city.
My tired arms absorbing and recording the steady thunk, thunk
of extraction and removal. Wondering if I'm weaker than required.
Arguing both sides with many voices. My gum fell. Corpse stiff.
Teeth indented.  Swept up and swift snowbank interred.

It may re-emerge.

Perhaps crow-carried to an ugly-ass infill moments before
the cement truck dumps its load. My microbial DNA preserved.
For future excavation. Together piecing. Complete with
scientific luminescencing. Dioramic re-conceiving. My diet
detailed. My daily life exposed. My face reproduced more
female than it's ever been. Impassive. Suggestive. Dressed
for my assigned role. Stoically gripping something more fitting.
My eyes locked on you.

So curious, there in your colony ship.

This road

This road is 4000 miles. This road is
many roads. This road ends and begins
with me. This road has bear and moose
but never together. This road is ofttimes
traveled in reverse. This road passes
through ghost towns, and ghostly towns
and towns that have been ghosted. This
road is solitary, except for my sister, who
sits for now, in the passenger seat. This
road has haul outs and pull-ins, well-used
rest stops, ancient motels. This road puts
me to sleep at 8 o'clock. This road eats
my tuna snacks, my peanut butter sand-
wiches. This road guzzles litre after litre
of water. This road is exposed rock and
buried sea bottoms, stormy lakes and deep
rivers. This road is curiously terrible as it
exits Quebec. This road is not my first
road. This road passes by so much more
quickly than rush hour on the Deerfoot.
This road is empty except for the greenest
trees and the pinkest asphalt. This road
runs up driveways, enjoys drinks on back
decks. This road has graveyards bumping
up on backyards. This road bypasses the
truth, and makes a mockery of reconciliation.
This road plops pickerel into fry pans. This
road is here. This road is now. This road
looks both ways but could still run you
over. This road finds people long long
gone. This road guides me home on restless
ribbons of fireweed. This road squeezes
every drop from my tank. This road
wends its way through my memories
blurred lights and hot wires. This road
pools and peaks. This road never sleeps
rarely complains. This road takes me
places too soon— it’s doing me no favours.
This road demands. This road devours.
This road ends sometime tomorrow.

Ren Pike grew up in Newfoundland. Through sheer luck, she was born into a large family who understood the exceptional value of a library card. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in NDQ, Train, antilang, and Juniper. When she is not writing, she wrangles data for non-profit organizations in Calgary, Canada.