Excerpt from Old English Songs by Cathy Stonehouse

Open the door, cross the threshold. Stairs rise up like tides. Drowned songs sway across the landing. Down here, your abandoned skin still breathes: an unseen spider quivering on a web. You are home; you are not at home. A plant which is not alive, a wildflower trapped in a frame.

What is the price of this cocoon? How may it be dismantled? Its eggs dead; its larvae desiccated into paper models. This is how life was once lived. A room full of women weaving lies into capes. A mechanical contraption for slicing eggs. The rudiments of inter-species conception unwinding inside a battered Sony cassette deck. Your old thoughts, laid end to end along the skirting boards, eaten into by ants and ghosts.



Copyright © Cathy Stonehouse. Originally published in subTerrain (#81), this excerpt is from a suite of 5 poems that won the 16th annual Lush Triumphant Literary Awards for Poetry.


Cathy Stonehouse is the author of two collections of poetry and one collection of short fiction and has just completed work on a debut novel. Her poetry has been published in a wide variety of journals and anthologies, including Force Field: 77 Women Poets in British Columbia, edited by Susan Musgrave.

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