Canada is the second-largest country in the world. It borders the United States to the south, and the US state of Alaska to the north-west. It is also next to the Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. Canada’s hugely varied geography includes mountain ranges, highland plateaus with thousands of lakes and rivers, lowlands, plains and prairies. The Arctic region of the country has hundreds of islands.
Dr Theresa Muñoz
Born in Vancouver, she now lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Her poetry has appeared in journals across the Atlantic, including Be The First To Like This: New Scottish Poetry, Best Scottish Poems 2013, Poetry Review, Wild Court, Scottish Review of Books, the Scotsman, Canadian Literature, and many others.
In 2018 she was a recipient of the Muriel Spark Centenary Award, in 2018 she was also awarded a Creative Scotland/ Scottish Book Trust Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship.
Her debut collection Settle (Vagabond Voices, 2016), shortlisted for the Melita Hume Poetry prize. She has a PhD in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow, where she was an Overseas Research Scholar and Faculty of Arts Award holder. She is currently Research Associate at the Newcastle Centre for Literary Arts at Newcastle University.
Dark Pines Under Water
This land like a mirror turns you inward
And you become a forest in a furtive lake;
The dark pines of your mind reach downward,
You dream in the green of your time,
Your memory is a row of sinking pines.
Explorer, you tell yourself, this is not what you came for
Although it is good here, and green;
You had meant to move with a kind of largeness,
You had planned a heavy grace, an anguished dream.
But the dark pines of your mind dip deeper
And you are sinking, sinking, sleeper
In an elementary world;
There is something down there and you want it told.
Daddy Foucault, we don’t have to be polite anymore.
I think of how you said,
the lyricism of marginality finds inspiration in the
on Princes St, outside the National Gallery,
where the western world shows itself:
all strong pillars and slipped light. I study the art, sceptical
of framed life. Pale bears
more pout: revved-up queens with cello shoulders
casting stink eye to stags
on cloud-peaked hills. Whiteness is a measure
of depth of colour. Nevermind the historical ashen faces,
a harp’s gilded curves in snowy parlour rooms,
even the lochs beget a bland glimmer.
All my life I’ve thought of myself in terms of whiteness,
without realising why.
Everything at its core is white: bones, waves and tofu,
his privately warm chest in our room we rested
behind glass, weren’t we just like art,
how our skins blended like two varieties of sand:
a tender bread colour versus a deep terracotta
and how the sunlight framed us.
Foucault, nothing here reminds me of me.
When did it become normal to look
and not see yourself? You were right, of course,
to identify with the peripheral: dark barn
misleading the eye, mossy dots cleaving the waterside.
This will be the way into the narrative
until one day, becomes day one.
Simpsons Dept Store, Toronto
My parents could have met in Manila
on a sweaty Jeepney
or down a market alley.
Instead, as two travellers
not used to hats, scarves or heavy coats.
They laughed when I asked where.
Oh, in the stationary aisle.
Mom hunted a present for a nun,
Dad searched for paper clips.
Two years later, married at St. Michael’s:
Dad in a rumpled suit, Mom in a bargain dress,
clutching winter roses.
But they could have met at a hospital.
The years uncovered this fact:
in Manila, Mom was nurse to Dad’s sick aunt.
But back to the day in the stationary aisle.
Mom chose a fountain pen.
Dad said That’s a good present, for a nun.
I tell their story to feel less lonely.
The sweet rush
of one leaving first, then the other
beyond the store’s bold signs
and frosted steps,
into Toronto’s starry expanse
as if this was how you came in,
twin dark heads in the snow.