Eleonore Schönmaier




A slim woman stands in
a baby pool, no water.
She wears a wetsuit, 

swim cap and in her left
hand grasps a pully looped
over the swing-set. 

She mimics the front
crawl. A great blue
heron swoops low 

over our silent
highway. An inflated
blue sofa moulds the 

curved shape of
my curly haired neighbour
on his front 

lawn. Under our
unscratched sky the
air is brisk, clear.  Spaced 

apart we sit near the backyard
pond, surrounded by
empties: Blue Light.






Jenny left me
half of a third.
In 1967 when she 

was born, Colville painted
a man looking out
over the Pacific 

and behind him
on the table is a gun.
If I place my hand on 

my neighbour's windowpane
I can almost touch
the back of his 

head as I walk by each
evening at street level
while he's watching his large 

screen TV and next to it
is a neon sign:  Fuck it.  Let's
buy stuff.  On his table 

is a white plate holding a white
pistol. Then one evening
he's absent but the neon 

remains bright and empty
whisky glasses sit on the
side table. Further away 

my friend tours me
through the basement
of a building where 

she designed a wine cellar:
each resident owns a cage
that can hold one hundred 

bottles. One cage is
completely full but all
the bottles are dusty. 

Another cage has only
one bottle and
it's labeled with a yellow 

tag: 1927. Outside
the roses lean over
the sidewalk, their heads 

full with the weight
of their beauty. The bare
torso of the man in 

Colville's painting takes on
the light of
day. What choices 

do we imagine
for him or for
my neighbour? I wish 

I could imagine Jenny's
story but all I have is her
handwritten will.






Quirine bends forward,
her finger pushing into
her vagina, the tampon sliding 

smoothly as she looks out
the window across to the
courtyard where her neighbour 

pegs his orange socks
on the line. In the
living room she sits on floor cushions 

beside her lover.  Think
Buddha like thoughts,
she says.  Is 

a Buddha-like-thought round
and fat, and maybe
naked? Quirine starts to laugh and 

reaches for her egg timer.
The lover says, Oh, no, more
minutes.  It’s going to take five 

extra to concentrate. Quirine
looks across the courtyard and breathes,
watches, breathes, a neighbour, 

breathes, plugging, breathes, in a kettle.
Later across the street in the Japanese Garden,
Quirine and her lover walk hand in 

hand and stop in front of the shrine
to Saint Jizo.  She places a pebble
on the dais.  Blood slowly runs 

down her left
leg and seeps into her white
sock. On the stone path a woman 

walks towards them and openly
smiles.  Only after she’s passed by
does Quirine recognize the striped 

sweater from the kitchen-kettle
neighbour.  (Was the man
with her wearing 

orange socks?)  She’s
never seen her
face to face.






You're on Crete
while I stand where rolled
carpets lean under
your northern street
number and next door inside
the flooring store
the man says, "I thought
you were visiting the
neighbours" as I stare
at the 4 cm by 4 cm turquoise
sample named Greek
Island and I'll lay
this linoleum in my
entrance as I wait for
your next visit when
you'll again walk
up my three flights
of stairs whistling
all the way.





In her rose
dress she
cycles while 

he rides the
He wants to 

take a selfie
but needs both
hands to hang 

on. They're
for a broken 

bowl healed
with gold to
gift to their 

grieving friend.
He's an organist
and she's a northern 

nurse: she mends
the broken
bones of gold 

miners when
their sky
falls in.




Eleonore Schönmaier’s new collection Field Guide to the Lost Flower of Crete is forthcoming in June 2021 from McGill-Queen's University Press. Wavelengths of Your Song (MQUP, 2013) was published in German translation as Wellenlängen deines Liedes in 2020 by parasitenpresse (Cologne).  Schönmaier is also the author of the critically acclaimed Dust Blown Side of the Journey (MQUP, 2017) and Treading Fast Rivers (MQUP, 1999). Dust Blown Side of the Journey was a finalist for the Eyelands Book Awards 2020 (Greece). She has won the Alfred G. Bailey Prize, the Earle Birney Prize, the Sheldon Currie Fiction Prize and the 2019 National Broadsheet Contest among others. Her poetry has been included in the League of Canadian Poets and the Academy of American Poets Poem in Your Pocket Day Brochure, and has been widely anthologized including in Best Canadian Poetry.  Born and raised in a remote settlement in the northern Canadian wilderness she now divides her time between Atlantic Canada and coastal Europe.  https://eleonoreschonmaier.com