Ourobouros by gillian harding-russell

Poem title: Ourobouros Poet name: gillian harding-russell Poem: A puce underbelly of smog coiled ’round the City stickying the low cement and high-flung metal surfaces dirt-speckled, tall coppery windows of tempered glass rising sullen and toothy on the skyline frozen in time and weathers, harmlessly there each day, when a citizen cocked his head at a magenta cumulonimbus wound around the leaning heads of skyscrapers... The sky was toppling! Everybody had heard that panic-attack story and so, annoyed at the alarmist, someone said, ‘Take an orange or a blue pill,’ and turned back to what she’d been doing, a fug of fear, it’s true, smothering lucid thought – it had been an opaque cold spring – continuing in this defensive frame doing what they were used to to accumulate happiness against gusty bad unpredictable weather, in digits registered on plastic and stored on liquid crystal screens made most cleverly of arsenic and lead their vehicles outside double-weather doors billowing in a sooty puff of exhaust on the parking lot under a broad building with the long bronze eyes where they navigated in the half-light of half- care, working every day, eight ‘til four waiting for the Friday off, when briefly the news: The planet has warmed by three degrees and the ice caps in the forest-fire carboniferous sunset are melting like tiger ice cream... ‘Sensationalist!’ a person beside me at work remarked, ‘obviously wrong-headed’ since yesterday they’d announced a hole in the sky supposed to have been patched up. Melting like ice cream and this the coldest spring on record? Here it was July, a lopsided ophidian cloud spitting ice pellets, and as I looked out the window, a brown animal sliminess slithered by in a squelching way though it might have been the sudden movement of my eyes glancing back at it. End of poem. Credits and bio: Copyright © gillian harding-russell First published in The Goose: A Journal for Arts, the Environment and Culture, vol. 17, no. 1 (2018). Republished in Uninterrupted (Ekstasis Editions, 2020). A Saskatchewan poet, editor, and reviewer, gillian harding-russell who lives on Treaty 4 territory. She has five poetry collections published, the most recent In Another Air (Radiant Press, 2018) and Uninterrupted (Ekstasis Editions, 2020). Both full-length poetry collections were shortlisted for Saskatchewan Book Awards. In 2016, a poem sequence Making Sense won first prize in Exile’s Gwendolyn MacEwen Chapbook Award. Also, a chapbook, Megrim was released by The Alfred Gustav Press in 2021. gillian has edited for Event magazine, first as Poetry Editor from 1986-2005, and at present as an Event Manuscript Reading Service editor. She has taught as a sessional at the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina, both for the English department and the Social Studies department. More recently, she has worked as a mentor through the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild and has edited SPRING magazine as well as editing on a private basis. She has an M.A. from McGill and a Ph.D. from the University of Saskatchewan.