How to Get There from Here

Karen McPherson

Karen McPherson

Karen McPherson is the author of Skein of Light and a former editor in the Airlie Press poetry collective. This poem appeared in Mïtra: Revue d’art et de littérature.

I guess you need a starting

point. So let me give you one
word of advice: don't
worry, whatever you do—it will come
to you. The point, I mean.

Or maybe not.

You could let the street names
guide you: Lunain, Ingersoll,
Wheaton, Old Mill—then gather
them up in handfuls, constellations
flung high, confetti

to the ceiling. When they stick
like tiny burrs, needlelights, you can read
them as sailors do, tracing the tides
and poles in and out of estuaries.

Or maybe not.

In any case, I wouldn't try imagining
some broad blue channel in moonlight
or fragrant swath of meadow.
While you're riffling through your deck
of favorite memories, something else
will be happening
somewhere else.

Or maybe not.

And maybe you can't—
see the point, that is, or get there
from here. But you can make out shapes
on the ceiling, in the darkness—
Catherine wheel, treadle and loom,
a salamander's nest—
and you can name them.

Or maybe not. Well, there you are then.
Nib, then line.

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