Rose-Anne Chabot – For Jeanne

For Jeanne



I sit inside the open doorway

of your cramped bedroom,

just handbreadths away

from where you kneel,

fingers splayed on the wooden floor,

womb heavy and distended,

breath ebbing and flowing

like waves washing up

from a vast and distant space

more powerful

than the bones and skin

we wander around in,

an in-between space that belongs

to the dying

and to the child

who bursts suddenly from you,

umbilical cord for an instant

the blue of cornflowers;

and in the suspended moment

before your son opens his lungs,

I think of these other pauses,

the ones we wrap ourselves in

on early winter mornings

while sipping burning coffee

from oversized travel mugs

and leaning against a kitchen counter

covered with stamps and stickers,

severed Barbie doll limbs,

empty milk bags and the rusting hearts

of abandoned apples—discarded artifacts

your children leave behind daily,

like careless mementos;

these pauses that,

not unlike the child pushed

from your womb,

also emerge from some in-between space,

one that belongs to you and me,

where silence is filled with things that are

whole and seamless

in the moments before language

breaks meaning down into small

absorbable sounds

we can push past throats and lips.

Sister. Friend.



Rose-Anne Chabot, raised in Moose Factory, Ontario, currently lives in Quebec City, where she works as a translator (French to English). In addition to writing poetry and the occasional short story, she is learning to play the Celtic harp.



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