“Tell” by Kimberley Orton

Poetry Pause is the League of Canadian Poets’ daily poetry dispatch. Read “Tell” by Kimberley Orton, part of the League’s Fresh Voices program.


By Kimberley Orton

This is my tree, Margo Braidwood says, biting into a warm, summer Bosc. She hands one down from her perch at the top, asks, where is yours.

Hanging upside down, I tell her all the trees are mine, she drops her core, tells me my eyes are spit out watermelon seeds.

You don’t have a tree, she tells me.

Apartment kids don’t have mothers and they don’t have trees.

I make her a hollyhock doll to show her I did have some love and sweetness in my life, too. She lowers a Barbie, tells me keep it, she doesn’t need this one anymore.

You think you are free, says this green-eyed girl who lives in this big house across the street with two dogs and a pear tree heavy with fruit, but you are alone.

Her mother stares out through my reflection in her dining room window, sees me watch her back. My heart clinks stemware. She mouths time to go home through the glass.

And it looks like I’m so much older, telling myself secrets I already know.

Copyright © Kimberley Orton

Kimberley Orton has been published by Arc Poetry Magazine, CV2, League of Canadian Poets, Book of Matches and Understorey. Known for her writings about strong women who, through sharing their stories, are able to (re)connect themselves to one another, notions of sanity, and feelings of place, Kimberley explores themes of grief and inheritance in her new poetry collection, Buried Streams. She is a recent graduate of UBC’s Creative Writing MFA program.

Fresh Voices is a publication and workshop program created by and for the League’s associate members.

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