New work from Victoria Butler for Poetry Month 2021
In her first book, Barrie Ontario’s first female Poet Laureate Victoria Butler has created a collection of poetry that uses humour and wit to display a sense of heartache and nostalgia. Backdropped by Ontario’s urban and rural spaces. Little Miracles is Victoria Butler at her vulnerable best and will be available in Fall 2021.
Be sure to look for Little Miracles on our website and in bookstores on September 21, 2021!
**an earlier version of this was published in the Acta Victoriana
Maybe there are places to go but
Right now all I can see is
The porch and
That dog somewhere down the street
that sounds more like a sound effect
than a heartbeat
And this moment where I am in this space
instead of longing for it.
“Male fantasies, male fantasies, is everything run by male fantasies? Up on a pedestal or down on your knees, it’s all a male fantasy: that you’re strong enough to take what they dish out, or else too weak to do anything about it. Even pretending you aren’t catering to male fantasies is a male fantasy: pretending you’re unseen, pretending you have a life of your own, that you can wash your feet and comb your hair unconscious of the ever-present watcher peering through the keyhole, peering through the keyhole in your own head, if nowhere else. You are a woman with a man inside watching a woman. You are your own voyeur.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Robber Bride
Small shapes take up less space. With fistfuls of plastic expectations and a head full of satin dreams. Old enough to know fear but not quite bleeding yet. There is a joy that comes with believing in the world. A bliss you know for being a child and not a woman, a human. To see your breath in the cold air and grab your belly in loving fistfuls, I wonder when we begin to accept it. Early I suppose. With the soft colours of princesses showing how easy it is to be loved. That love is the nirvana, the answer, the fulfillment, the everything. As you grow you step into mold after mold of the word woman: shrinking or whitening, straightening, and emptying. Is it a caress if you are still caught under their thumb?
Who am I if not
Lying in someone’s ashes
(The embers of someone I could have been)
If I am not drowning on the surface of something I’ve been trained to want
(Some big beautiful lake that has never hesitated to eat me alive
See my body and take it as it pleases
Reels me in under the guise of calm waters and night’s reflection)
I exist for your gaze
Even when I am alone
There is a figure inside of me
Built by the warden
It waits for me to falter
But knows I wouldn’t dare.
Leaving my earrings on your bedside table
I can trade in for more time
In my head:
The sun ignites them in the morning
And brings your memory back to
Where those hooks were hung
The night before
If you’re missing me then
This forced forgetfulness