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Poetry

Carter Vance

Carter Vance is a writer and poet originally from Cobourg, Ontario, Canada currently resident in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada. His work has appeared in such publications as The Smart Set, Contemporary Verse 2 and A Midwestern Review, amongst others. He was previously a Harrison Middleton University Ideas Fellow. His latest collection of poems, Places to Be, is currently available from Moonstone Arts Press.

False Negatives

The swipe-swabs go over
back-of-hand skin again,
alcohol tang, alkaline light,
swimming through the bow-break
long stretch of sunny skies
I sometimes spy through

Windowpanes and cutting blinds,
days that pass as punch-up
puppets, characters unreal.

I sat in bright rooms,
clean places with clipboards,
pens tapping off ID
laminate while I waited for words
to come in ways that didn’t

Echo off me, blank and borne-out,
when I’d know victory at last,

Standing up to cross-hued sunshine
in the flipped over tape decks

What mom said was best
about me when I was quiet:

The way I looked up at the
beeper machines and felt peace
with their starring light,

As we were one, in lonesome
formality.

White Tulips

Muck-gray and silence outside,
sleet sheets washing down concrete
places we stood in time to street corner
symphonies now quiet.

You took the water, filled plastic
cups and spun to catch light
in tangles of hair (falling frames
around half-moon smile).

I took your hand and
pressed to cheek, feeling
a world’s wonder warmth beneath
old, battered visage.

The day beyond, stretched out
as lazing animals in separation
again, we were dreaming
of bleached flowers

And the spring dawn.