Poem: JC Bouchard

Illo for JC Bouchard's poem.

Unintentional Koan

If I slightly stretch out my hand like
a pelican’s beak saggy with fish, well
then I deserve whatever makes its will
of my bony fingers—the question is
human bone or fish bone, which parts
I use to distinguish the sea as water
or an accumulation of water droplets.
It’s that kind of difference, innocuous
but hopeful, that renders comparisons
utterly useless borrowing old world
fusions of thought, because it’s truly
true and I have enough to shove down
outside but duality—well, the pelican
has more to wonder as it wills itself
to be whatever a pelican has the strength
to be. I won’t bother to look up if birds
steal the bony shores of Canadian lakes
because I’m certain they do. We all
do. Imagine that: our hands sent out
over the boughs of shaky boats, empty,
but at least we can call it an effort. Now,
I can’t remember how to pronounce
every name, which is to individuality
as pelicans are to fish. My hands—
it’s a good thing I understand they are
attached to me.
JC Bouchard’s poetry has appeared in Arc, untethered, and Hart House Review. He is the author of two chapbooks: Portraits (In/Words Press) and WOOL WATER (words(on)pages press). He lives in Toronto.

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