Venus and Adonis, she read backwards
and upside down, so that she could not see
the pattern of his stanzas all at once.
Instead, she placed it line by line, letter
by letter, mid by mid by em by en by
oh-boy stood-for-weeks-on-end. In
the bindery, she could hear her teachers
reading out the text — especially
the naughty bits. The naughty bits!
Their two dear voices muffled by the stacks
of books and papers running up the walls.
One voice came low, one alto, then their laughter
sleek as sunlight streaming through the slats.
She stood and set and said, go slow, go slow.
She could not see the text, she was so rich.
Elizabeth Bachinsky is the author of Curio (Bookthug, 2005) and Home of Sudden Service (Nightwood, 2006) which was nominated for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry. Her poetry has appeared in publications in Canada, the US, and abroad and has been translated into French and Chinese. She lives in Vancouver.
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