Love Poem with Elk and Punctuation, Prairie Storm and Tasbih by Alycia Pirmohamed
2019 CBC Poetry Prize winner
Alycia Pirmohamed won the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize for Love Poem with Elk and Punctuation, Prairie Storm and Tasbih.
You can read Love Poem with Elk and Punctuation, Prairie Storm and Tasbih below.
Love Poem with Elk and Punctuation
To taste water
on the surface of a mirror —
to love, even briefly, the elk of your own tongue.
We become a myth that will cleave in the middle.
I admire spooling lotus after lotus after.
Fragment of my body:
brown edges. The whorl of a question mark
and you? Night's quiet exclaim.
We become a bridge that crosses the chasm.
It takes a moon or two, a slivering, to chapter.
I look at the fringe
and watch evening kick her feet right through.
We, too, become hoofs of light and feel our way
around tenderness —
this is a dream and we are the ruminants in it.
I want to know how you move
from polygon to speckle, rectangle to unravel.
In the water, I stretch out until I am lagoon
and you are the coral
at my toes,
until I am the lotus that blossoms after!
We shoo away the hornet
as she lands on a grain of saffron rice.
Outside, the sky sparks like a wet nerve.
It must be lonely to storm,
long stems of water scattering sidelong
in a suddenly vacant wide.
The rain knows how to fall in Gujarati.
Afterward, bellies full
of clove heads and yolk, we spill
into the yard and read in dark rivers.
How quickly the landscape mothers
those stray tears,
bushels of mustard anchoring the roots
of an indivisible language.
We marvel at how something
that was carried such a long distance
can fill the prairies like a vase,
while we, ourselves, pour and pour.
Walk into the turquoise bead thirty-three times. This
is a ritual like rinsing the darkdark of your hair. The
everglade birds rok rok as they flicker in and out of
the wet. How thirsty are you / how holy? In this reef,
you will learn how to make. Which is to say, you will
nod bend hinge drink and repeat. Listen: the answer is
in how the egret rok roks once more. To weave is to
look inward at each stage, then burgeon again. Here,
you will learn how to symmetry, how to pray, how to
Alycia Pirmohamed on The Homestretch
Read the other finalists
- Family Affair by Faith Arkorful
- Shelter Object by Stephanie Bolster
- The Grolar Bear's Ballad by Catherine Greenwood
- You Left Something by Erin Soros
- 12 by Sarah Tsiang
- Caribou in the Anthropocene by Cara Waterfall
About Alycia Pirmohamed
Alycia Pirmohamed is a doctoral candidate at the University of Edinburgh, where she is studying figurative homelands in poetry written by second-generation immigrant writers. She is the author of Faces that Fled the Wind and a recent recipient of the Calgary Arts Development's project grant program. Alycia received her MFA from the University of Oregon.
The winner of the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, have their work published on CBC Books and attend a two-week writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. The remaining finalists will each receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and have their work published on CBC Books.