A poem.

I fainted this morning.

For a few seconds, the world stopped spinning,
as planets hurricane-whipped
through winter air. Heaviness. Darkness.
Memory skipped a beat, time two beats,
life suddenly shown up, a scratched audio CD.
I opened my eyes, cheek on cement.

Today was the coldest yet.
Each boot thrust through ice
splintered the memory of hills.

At work, I utter this prayer,
Keep me on my two feet today.
I feel frail, wearing the frayed edges of this world
as close as fingernails to my skin.

I come home to Ukraine at war,
Iranian girls wrested from words,
wrestled into prison,
a child stolen by rebels in Congo.

At supper we crack boiled eggs.
The cousin of coral and seashell and chalk
we shatter with one blow of steel.

Frail baby Jesus, in human flesh,
I fainted this morning. Did you know?

Do you see splitting ice and splintered shells,
all the fragile smiles? Do you see people dying?

Just this morning my blood failed
to breathe fluid oxygen to my brain,
How can I find enough compassion
to bathe the world tonight?

Just this morning I cracked ice
on my way to the edges of the world
and eggshells on my way back.
Tonight, I think I can imagine

a brittle darkness, splintering
under the stubbornness of a donkey
dragging forward a horizon.

Christmas waits, less than a week away.


  • Maaike VanderMeer

    Maaike first appeared in CC's pages as a teenage writer from Ontario. Fast forward almost a decade later (and relocate to a land-based fish farm in southern British Columbia), and Maaike stepped in as CC's assistant editor for a year in 2021. Now she serves as Art and Development Manager. She is intrigued by the symbiotic relationship between hope-oriented journalism and the arts, and the place it has in CC's pages. Her degree is in Intercultural Service and World Arts and she creates original watercolours and graphics for CC (proving that work can be fun). You can follow more of Maaike's visual experiments on Instagram @maai_abrokentulip

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