Our National Poetry Month Celebration continues with a poem from Beautiful Children with Pet Foxes by Jennifer LoveGrove.
Longlisted for the Raymond Souster Award in 2018, Beautiful Children With Pet Foxes bears witness to moments of extreme crisis that will take you on an odyssey through a terrain of startling dreamscapes. These are poems haunted by the ghosts of alienation, trauma, delusion, and fear that the past decade has instilled in us. Here you will encounter a whole host of personas, both tame and wild—from humans, to foxes, moose, deer and crows, slugs, fish, beetles, mosquitos, earthworms, and more—who give voice to the things we can’t express in our daily lives. In a review for The Globe and Mail, Domenica Martinello said, “Beautiful Children with Pet Foxes stretches the possibility of lyric expression with a dreamlike twist.”
We’re pleased to share the poem “Dinner Table” today. Click on the video below to watch Jennifer read the poem and follow along with the text below.
The one in the dining room, the one
my second husband made and under that,
a much smaller table. Under that,
seven frogs blinking their third eyelids
open and closed, open and closed.
The dead still sit and fold their hands
across from us. They try to tell us so much
we don’t even listen anymore.
Too many plates need gathering up,
and these days, everyone’s a soldier.
We just slide back the chairs
and pull the pillowcases
back over our heads.
I sweep my forearm across the silver clutter
and dash it to the floor.
This is my ceremony, backed by
seven tadpoles, seven caterpillars,
seven young girls in black
reclining in the doorway.
This is nation-building. I keep
a pet grouse on the verandah.
Together we tend the cocoons
and pour water over those who need it.
We peer into the night field
and see shapes move,
then don’t see them.
Jennifer LoveGrove is the author of the Giller Prize–longlisted novel Watch How We Walk, as well as two poetry collections: I Should Never Have Fired the Sentinel and The Dagger Between Her Teeth. In 2010, LoveGrove was nominated for the K.M. Hunter Artist Award for Literature and in 2015, her poetry was shortlisted for the Lit POP Awards. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications across North America. She divides her time between downtown Toronto and rural Ontario.