Photography © Jennifer Matthews
They come in a husk of treated wood, slipping
back and forth through charred foam, the will of the waves
unflinching in the smog and ash.
The house breathes on the shore, labouring,
lapping up salt, rinsing and dumping
buckets of kelp and stone through the gape of evening.
A bare guest room, a ceiling fan spinning out,
sluggish on its bulb, still hot, an oil horse and rider
caught briefly in dimming glass.
Pathways spill down the beach, crossed mooring lines
that seep through tumbleweed, cold sandpiper nests,
up through damp floorboards and old leather sandals.
The screen hangs from the neck of a dead nail, kicking
in the empty howl. Colourful things tread about
in complete darkness: the tea set, the Sorry! board.
Like clockwork, hands slide through the leaking
boot room, tugging at the sutures that bind
the devil and this place together.
An invitation, a yellow light, blood-brown eyes, a stench
that crawls from wall to ceiling, crouches on the banister,
slips down to flood the cavities beneath.
They can’t stay, not long, yet he lingers just beyond
the lamplight, curled in the doorframe, watching fingers
move over stained silk, through bone china.
When it’s stamped and dated, he moves
quickly, rises above burgundy tile and wet sailing caps.
The bow thumps against the dock.
Born and raised in Prince George, British Columbia, Thomas Richards grew up in the shadow of great mill stacks and the dust of long-forgotten service roads. He studied contemporary poetry at UNBC under Dr. Rob Budde; an endlessly inspired author and a truly northern poet.
Poet/Photographer Jennifer Matthews’ poetry has been published in Nepal by Pen Himalaya and locally by the Wilderness Retreat Writers Organization, Midway Journal, The Somerville Times, Ibbetson Street Press and Boston Girl Guide. Jennifer was nominated for a poetry award by the Cambridge Arts Council for her book of Poetry Fairy Tales and Misdemeanors. Her songs have been released nationally and internationally and her photography has been used as covers for a number of Ibbetson Street Press poetry books and has been exhibited at The Middle East Restaurant, 1369 Coffeehouses, Sound Bites Restaurant in Somerville and McLean Hospital.