Category: Workbook #14

Poetry from Workbook #14 (2007–2014). The workbook’s working title “Bone Fires” was inspired by Philip Kevin Paul’s “Taking the Names Down from the Hill” and Gregory Scofield’s “Singing Home the Bones.”


Shipped across an ocean liner. Third-class cargo reminiscent of his maternal grandparents. Steerage, a passage that is unforgiving.

Unwanted. A wistful dream of a man who barely beyond his teens, with the burden of expectation heavy on shoulders too narrow.

In uniform columns of printed type of newspaper articles, I discover partial explanations. Pieces are added in my son’s observations of the past.

Yellowed clippings list facts, name sources, but poets are accustomed to reading between the lines. I find what I believe is the real story.

Discharged eight weeks before the season’s end, pushes the price of passage from hand to hand. Another price to pay.

His mother tells me he changed when he returned home, but never says how, or speculates on the reasons why, so I do the work for her.


From poetry workbook #14 by Valerie Poulin.