“Field Guide”, longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize

a photo of a printed copy of the poem Field Guide, which reads: Field Guide  for Sophie  The 2020 edition of the Field Guide to Grief covers a wide range of sorrows. Chapters on bushfires, locusts, coping with a culture  that wants you to get over it in six months.  Oddly specific passages: what to say  into the silence after you ask for a shovel,  having arrived trembling at a dinner party,  the still-warm body of the fox you just ran over  seeping red onto your arms. An expanded  section on grieving while parenting—the toddler  who imitates your laugh, doesn’t know  the difference between laughing & crying:  HAW HAW HAW whenever you crumple  on the kitchen floor. And the much-anticipated  mourning in quarantine. How to touch each  other when we cannot touch each other.  How to gather up the river with both hands. What I’m trying to say is I can’t believe  you overdosed at the start of a pandemic. Two days earlier I was still shaking  people’s hands. Everything was changing  so quickly. And then we sat through your memorial with our hands in our laps, still thinking that could keep us safe.

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Lisa Baird