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Poets & Storytellers 2021

A.F. Moritz, Toronto

A.F. Moritz's most recent books of poems are The Garden: a poem and an essay (Gordon Hill, 2021), As Far As You Know (Anansi, 2020) and The Sparrow: Selected Poems (Anansi, 2018), as well as a new edition of poems in Greek translation selected from The Sparrow (Vakxikon, 2021). He has published twenty volumes of poetry and his work has received the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Griffin Poetry Prize, the Award in Literature of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Bess Hokin Award of Poetry magazine, and has three times been selected a finalist for the Governor General's Award, among other honours. He is presently the Poet Laureate of the City of Toronto, the sixth poet to hold that office.
Photo credit:Steve Payne

Poem: House

It was a house plummeting through the night.
At last I had a home. A place
to stay, my own, a different place
from the hideous roofless pesterings, the appearances
and disappearings that never let me alone.

It was a house collapsing into itself.
When I’d swept all the floors, caulked the cracks,
dusted the picture frames and rubbed the cheap
glasses brighter than crystal, nothing needed
to be fixed ever again. I could walk from view to view,
and any shifting of a figurine in a room
was for a slightly other beauty.

It was a house all alone in a wood and meadow
among unpopulated hills ringed in by cliffs
snowy in the summers. Twenty steps to the door
and I could shut away the sirens
of a minute ago, rusted knives and needles in gutters,
the shouts and threats or starving-dog
indifference of the beggars.

It was a house mine alone
where I could think that if the one I love
came home…I would know
at last how to be with her. My failure
was a happy moment
recalling, expecting, in the great continuance
of being together.

t was a house where no one else can come.
If they came to see if I’m dead, they’d find
the breeze in the open doors, the white
curtain stirring, and a cleanly un-
disquieting rind.

A.F. Moritz