Three Poems by Razielle Aigen

It’s Complicated

An assemblage of opposing little lines—hyphens,
dashes, minuses, backslashes and underscores arranged into a chevron
or the slightly more intricate herringbone of an ascending
and descending set of stairs, a veritable Escher
etching. Against a current going both ways, AC/DC,
an archway is passed every so often, a natural pause.
For a brief moment,
everything seemed possible.

Outside at dawn, we are
taking turns taking sips of heliotrope light
through a straw meant for slushies,
delivering ice streams to the reticular formation
in the depths of our skulls. The impatiens bloom.
The Haligonians skim a bit off the top of the morning, offering
it to us warmly to go, only or maybe precisely
because we will have been
the only ones there.

With the impulsivity of graphite in the margins,
in the interval between The Ravishing
of Lol Stein & Summer Rain
we go out looting Nova Scotia’s pistachio-grey,
dulse-strung South Shore for driftwood,
rocks and vacated crab shells. Our pockets bulge.

Returning the empties
of altered egos, we will have broken
most of the rules, groping for innocence
without a mythos or fire
escape in sight. Being off-season, we simply assumed Lunenberg
would stay quiet (the subtle shudder
of a challenged taboo, will have sufficed as
our subjective truth). Looking back within
the optics of internal logic, it will have just as soon be seen
as one of those things categorized as:
it’s complicated—
a stairway going both ways.

Making A Sandwich Underwater

To make a sandwich involves a preparation, a willingness to be barked at or nicked with a very sharp blade. It requires an immunity to shame and humiliations and to fight tooth and nail to quit smoking, a loyalty to last year’s pact to wear the patch. It demands that more be gained in the middle, filled out at the bottom and that something also be done about the top.
It takes a willingness to get all-dressed and love despite all the layered hurts.


A tab will disorientate and ultimately balloon you away from yourself entirely. Shallow breathing punctuated every so often with a sharp piercing gasp, as though remembering to come up for air. Underwater it is quiet, sounds from above are dampened and far away. You float, you are weightless. The opposite of how you felt in your prom dress. All the degrading words spat from sharp tongues in shouting, angry voices that you ever heard are dissolved, are taken back. Under the tongue, a tiny tablet reminds you it’s all okay, you’re okay, you’re buoyant.

See Through

In an insomniac forest
she will have cut off all my hair
saying, it unburies your face.
Until then I didn’t know
I was so hidden under dreams
of one day becoming

In the back of my mind
there are fears of drowning
in a bowl of wonton soup
and that housekeeping may check
the bedside table drawers
from time to time. Fears
both fabricated and plausible
swimming against the current
of a suppressed urge
to climb into a braided loaf of bread
from time to time, just to see
what it would be like.

Where there stands
a chance to uncouple
your departure from the world
and the wound it left behind,
there are still seams to sew and unravel
and a stratosphere to darn one layer at a time.
Which basically means to stretch
for a good beyond measure, meaning
just that there are still corners
and pockets to reach into
and around, holes left
to dig and holes left to fill. Things to do
and wrinkles to make
around your eyes.

Now, even the thought
of buttering toast saddens my insides,
confirming our hungers are stale
and aligned.



RAZIELLE AIGEN is a Montreal-born writer and artist with a B.A. in History and Contemporary Studies from Dalhousie/King’s University in Halifax, and is an alumna of The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University. Her poems appear in various publications, including Five:2:One, Synapse, and California Quarterly. You can find out more on her website and follow her on Twitter @ohthepoetry.


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on RedditShare on LinkedInPin on Pinterest