Joe Bishop




Young Feller’s Tale


Ne’er a flobber on the barrisway.
I heave a dead man’s dive,
Fadder’s sod, born on Outer Ring.
He cut cord, drove past overpass.

I roved with he and Mudder past
lichen-claimed graves, beaver dams
rigged from crabapple trees.
We climbed tolts, traipsed gullies,

waded through bog, weaved
erratics, the stunted tuckamores
over barrens, and tangled in pines.
Maggoty nippers nipped.

Roots flipped me arse over kettle.
Mudder smooched where it smert.
We made ne’er a queak
stitching warmth from pelts.

I sparked splits come duckish.
Brindy boughs crackled and creamed.
Flankers sprayed from junks I dropped.
Fadder spun one of his yarns.

He’d tell of his spell in a whale,
how his bites dug floors of blubber,
how he built a flue up blow hole.
Pay he no heed, Mudder’d say.

I jillick mid a screecher of gulls.
Humpbacks blast and gush
to fathom the sun’s harpoons.
The sea sings her hooks in me deeps.


Touching Lines

My name, I find, engraved beside my brother’s,
marking a day twenty-five years ago,
hands-on hours when we found spikes for carving
in this cove of bedrock not much wider than
St. Matthew’s altar. Shoulder blades press against
incline of strewn slab. I wedge (a cyborg,
of sorts) near spiders who dip in pooling craters.
Words on my app autocorrect as I spell-out—
playing house with cousins—our unrestraint
assembled these slabs to tables, turned the shale
to plates, crag to cabinet—or when house
was church—my brother, best man or Reverend—
once I stood in as bride—now I enter the word
fossil—fingerprints impinge on glass.



Joe Bishop’s work has appeared in literary journals across his home country of Canada as well as abroad. In 2016, he received a Newfoundland & Labrador Arts & Letters award for poetry.








                                    

 

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