Dictionary of the Lost

Dictionary of the Lost

As published in Déraciné Volume VII (7): 20-21.
*2021 Rhysling Award Nominee.*

We let our fingertips
glide into the radial lumens
of wispy liquid’s cool bearings,
looking for raw coral beds.

This Atoll’s lilac sunset—
dancing by its force of mauves—
inks crimson clarity
into the fathomed cerulean
of our water’s blue magistrate,
blind and beautiful.

Colour and memory
cascade toward ocean. Wordless,
we stood adrift—hunger-pinned—
for those rustic cracks of shelled life.

I shallowed my hand,
reaching for you. Cut.

These howling desolate sludge stars,
fulcrums of our skyline,
whining their furies volcanic—
meticulous black expanses—
beating their irons of light. Blips.

Impertinent beads (falling red—
falling red) thick of spidered wounds,
speckling this moonlit map
with our botched blood trails. Bodies.

Balmy of touches.
Of gasoline-dowsed mothballs
combusting. Can you see?
Swarms of gallows—
their heat, sticky with tar and wax—
as I graft this Icarus
upon our monarch’s
wick of destruction. Sizzling…

Seconds. Seconds. Seconds.

I write down what I cannot remember.
Words, these sound-seeds,
plucked from the earth
and this edge of air tasting of longing,
of longing, of love-fermented memories.
Of continuity’s kiss, never returned.
Have you heard them?
These illusive little specks of grammar—
umbilical imprints and cords,
morose of gravity and fed to us
upon a belief.


I wonder what will be of this world—
chalked and hungover by its scratched outlines?

When these dead words outnumber the living.
These entries as they beat our heretical ghost-lanterns
into sun-battered journals. Can you remember
the Caspian tigers stalking our barest of imaginations?

Dead fires: nimbly woke,
daring, and damned—they spoke.
Or, those Newfoundland wolves,
growling god at the veins of crescent waters,
rushing, rushing to this darkly crater.

Silence of thought—calm tonality—
dips further into this last bright hue.
Violet, deep reds. I watch this rustling.
The sway of sounds, slow winds
against Saskatchewan sweetgrasses.

I hold inside myself,
trembling broke to thunder
and these skies of her,
my grandmother’s words.
Я чувствую себя потерянным без них.[1]



[1] This line in Russian translates as, “I feel myself lost without them.”