Two Poems by Catherine Graham


In Memoriam Bruce Gillingham, 1929-2019

The condo took him away
from his garden. Pots
on the balcony, not the same.

By the lake, a field with few
wildflowers called to him.
He drove to where the city

kept spreading—holes where
other condos would rise.
Ox-eye daisy, Queen Anne’s lace,

Butter and eggs, Chicory—
he transplanted his finds along
the waiting edges. Fox, skunk

and rabbit watched, but not
the passersby as he dug more holes
to root the living. Growth took.

So he planted seeds, nothing invasive,
just more of the already there to richen
texture and colour. Some milkweed

to coax monarchs back. I see
him—tending, tamping, close
to ninety, down on his knees.


I hold a world
of wishes in my grip,
stem a ghostly circle

from yellow. I cycle
with sun-pops, host
bees, wasps—you

pluck—my Nail
into Earth
blows from your mouth
in spitting wisps—

I am I am wind-held.

Catherine Graham’s sixth poetry collection, The Celery Forest, was named a CBC Best Book of the Year and was a finalist for the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry. Her debut novel Quarry won an Independent Publisher Book Awards gold medal, “The Very Best!” Book Awards for Best Fiction and was a finalist for the Sarton Women’s Book Award and Fred Kerner Book Award. She teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto SCS where she won an Excellence in Teaching Award. Æther: an out-of-body lyric appears in 2021 as will with her second novel The Most Cunning Heart. Visit: Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @catgrahampoet

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