Assiniboine by Joanne Epp

Poet name: Joanne Epp Poem name: Assiniboine Poem: White laces tugged tight, bow-tied. In white boots you stumble toward the trail cleared on river ice between clay banks. A waxwing whistles from the leafless maples, dog-walker’s footsteps creak on packed snow. Rough hiss of blades. Cold air prickles your cheeks. A small wind, white noise in your ears. The morning’s blue and white, your body a solar cell. You bend knees, swing arms, pick up the rhythm of push and glide, under the bridge with white-frosted railing. Past the library, around the bend, alone on this winter road. Consider the wind’s direction. Don’t think about time. Let momentum carry you, stroke on stroke, to the next curve, the next bridge, until this river joins another, until your white boots stumble again. End of poem. Credits and bio: Copyright © Joanne Epp “Assiniboine” was among the poems displayed in an “ice maze” on the frozen Assiniboine River in winter 2021. Joanne Epp’s poetry has appeared in Prairie Fire, The New Quarterly, and Canadian Literature, and has placed in the Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest and the Banff Centre Bliss Carman Poetry Award Contest. Her collaborative translations of German poetry, with Sally Ito and Sarah Klassen, have appeared in The Polyglot and are forthcoming in an anthology. Her first poetry collection, Eigenheim (Turnstone Press, 2015), explores the intersections of home, memory, and longing. Her second collection, Cattail Skyline (Turnstone Press, 2021), an intimate look at landscapes where she has lived and travelled, was shortlisted for the Lansdowne Prize for Poetry at the 2022 Manitoba Book Awards. When not writing, Joanne may be found practicing the organ or photographing wildflowers by the creek. She lives in Winnipeg.