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Each Blade of Grass, a Ghost

by Lillian Nećakov -

I dreamt of Charles Olson standing by the clothesline

gargantuan, reciting the atlas, syllables fat with blood, cascading from his mouth

sheets flapping in the broken down geography; a call to peace

I dreamt of books and manuscripts scattered at the feet of my dying father

in a house where all doors were unhinged and no bible was ever welcome

even for its vowels which we could have used for kindling as winter descended

I dreamt of every poet whose heart was bigger than mine in the quietest of times

whose language crashed against the shores of undeserving cities like a call to arms

before the flood, I dreamt

I dreamt of my favourite walking shoes left to the whimsy of strangers, a small token

of burdens left behind and punishments to come on the occasion of a crippled spring,

too slow for the world

I dreamt of Marconi and Reginald Fessenden, their voices echoing across the Atlantic

softening into the laughter of young girls; 1906 while the inerrancy of Tommy Burns’

KO sent shivers down the necks of Hanover boys

I dreamt I was lying in a field with Frank O’Hara, each blade of grass a ghost

of someone we had let go, while in the distance a telephone rang and rang

and the sun closed in around us like a cathedral.


Lillian Nećakov is the author of six books of poetry, numerous chapbooks, broadsides and leaflets. Her latest book il virus was published in April 2021 by Anvil Press (A Feed Dog Book). In 2016, her chapbook The Lake Contains an Emergency Room was shortlisted for bpNichol chapbook award.

During the 1980s, Lillian ran a micro press called “The Surrealist Poets Gardening Association” and sold her books on Toronto’s Yonge Street. She ran the Boneshaker Reading series from 2010-2020. Her new book, duck eats yeast, quacks, explodes; man loses eye, a collaborative poem with Gary Barwin is forthcoming in 2023 from Guernica Editions. She lives in Toronto and just might be working on a new book.


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