Micheline Maylor comes from Windsor, Ontario, but lives in Calgary where she writes poetry, teaches writing at Mount Royal University and edits FreeFall Magazine. Some of these names may be familiar to you. Apparently, Micheline is quite good at getting dg to do things. He is judging a fiction contest for FreeFall and Micheline’s student Gabrielle Volke recently interviewed dg for an essay she is writing and the resulting dialogue appeared on Numéro Cinq and will appear in FreeFall. Micheline Maylor is also an accomplished poet. Her first collection Full Depth: The Raymond Knister Poems was published in 2007. (Raymond Knister was an early 20th century Ontario poet, story writer and novelist, something of a cult figure in Canadian literary circles for his early promise and the tragic way he died. His daughter used to live in Waterford, dg’s hometown, and he chatted with her there in the drugstore, oh, maybe three or four years ago now.) It’s a pleasure to be able to introduce you to Micheline and print one of her new poems, a kind of memento mori, a stern vision of death, in Numéro Cinq.
Bird at the University
By Micheline Maylor
Four months, it takes, for the sinew
to release bones from skeleton.
A whole semester.
From August, I walk back and forth past the bird
one hundred and twenty-two times.
I think of me and you, us,
while this elegant architecture called bird
He’s belly-up, beak to the north,
wings splayed to the poles.
In two days, his eyes are sockets,
in four days, his under-feathers scatter to the east.
The gentle wind detonates
a downy bomb on still, green grass
only a few stray flight-feathers cling to the skeleton
in the mud beside the late pansies.
November snow covers everything.
Stray footprints press him tighter to the earth.
Much exists in my lexicon that was not there yesterday,
last week, last month, last year.
In this new normal, grief accumulates
with that first rime
with that first staying snow.
Yet, like the bird,
I learn to relax,
to all these elements.
—By Micheline Maylor
What a beautiful poem…sad yet honest and brave. “Grief accumulates…” Really powerful image.