First Death in Nova Scotia by Jenny Haysom

Have you seen Nancy? My mother
took me by the shoulders
and shook me. Nancy

was younger, but in the country
it was common for children
of all ages to play together.

An unadulterated boredom
was our lot; gravel road
and level sea, the dour

fortitude of spruce. No doubt
there was a search party:
policemen silently

dividing the wayside, neighbours
flattening ferns in the wood.
All of us unravelling

the intricate perimeter, slick
of seaweed fringing rock,
where a child could

hop from outcrop to outcrop.


Copyright © Jenny Haysom. Originally published in Dividing the Wayside (Palimpsest Press, 2018).


Jenny Haysom was born in England and raised in Nova Scotia. She completed a Master’s degree in English Literature at the University of Ottawa in the 90s, and has since worked for independent booksellers and the Ottawa Public Library. Dividing the Wayside, her debut collection of poems, was published by Palimpsest Press in September 2018. Her work has appeared in various literary journals as well as in chapbook form (Blinding Afternoons, Anstruther Press, 2017). Jenny was on the board of directors for Arc Poetry Magazine for several years, guest-edited a special issue of children’s poetry (2012) and was prose editor from 2014-16. She lives with her family in Ottawa.

Subscribe to Poetry Pause or visit the Poetry Pause Archives.


See the League’s 2019 Book Awards Shortlists here.