Wanda Praamsma: from a thin line between

a thin line between by Wanda Praamsma ISBN 9781771660532 high resEXCERPTS FROM A THIN LINE BETWEEN


it wasn’t intended for me to see but I did
(in the subject of an email)

the invisible mom

on a hill in a suburb in serbia
jon went back
julie followed
there were two weddings
one in serbia one in canada
two services two families two dresses
two kids
baby-girl baby-boy
they are already more advantaged than most serbian kids, says julie
they speak english and are half-canadian
and she is happy they are growing up here: the serbs cherish children
the schools are good
so much emphasis on art and culture and languages
this is europe after all
but I don’t want my kids to go to university here, says she
I want them to go in canada
where there is more



the ripe red of an apple

julie wants to be here but she also wants to be there

chilies firing green spice from pile on a market floor

but she knows that once she is there she’ll miss here

saris singing in sapphire

and between all the here-ing and there-ing
you often have to ask
are you ever here-here?


nights on the news desk
when a soldier dies and I don’t care anymore
I just want to go home it’s one in the morning
you’ve lost your soul, wanda
I lost it back in santiago when I wanted to take out rebecca’s ellipsis
a drip of soul slithering away with every erasure
deleting words

still I think that everything is editing
or I did for a while when my head felt nothing else
people editing their lives
those snowplows edit the street, scraping it clean
the gardener edits the ground, please no green disturbances on this path
dank u wel

but it’s strange because then you start to edit your life and the people around you
and people don’t like that
especially not your husband

you shouldn’t bring your work home with you, says michiel
right true but all of us do
especially the artists, those prickly characters who go around with their heads
knotted tightly around their left knees
tap them on the shoulder and they jump because you’ve disturbed
their quiet churning

the grooves in space

kept light kept still

until touch softens the grip

a cardinal line wrapped in tight incisive eddies

in air instead of water

craig says       you’re looking through me, like you don’t even see me


Wanda Praamsma grew up in the Ottawa valley in Clayton, Ontario. Her poetry has appeared in Ottawater, 17 seconds, and Feathertale, and several literary non-fiction pieces have appeared in the Toronto Star, where she worked for several years as an editor. She has worked, studied, and lived at various points in Salamanca, Spain, Santiago, Chile, and Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and has travelled to many places in between and beyond, including Cuba, India, and the Balkans. Praamsma currently lives in Kingston, Ontario. a thin line between is her first book of poetry.

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