Cornelia Hoogland

Articulate Ground Art Show at the Community Hall, opening July 28th 7-9pm, open throughout the Hornby Festival till August 6. “Changes” travels to the Denman Island Gallery, opening August 18, and runs until August 30. https://www.facebook.com/events/1096095473747277/

“Woods Wolf Girl,” my 6th book of poems, concerns Red Riding Hood, a fairy tale I’m devoted to retelling, seemingly endlessly. “RED, my play, captures a struggle between a daughter and her immigrant mother. Listen to my poems: Comox Valley Is Where I’m from. Poems from “Woods Wolf Girl” (Wolsak and Wynn), https://redridinghood2011.wordpress.com/red_riding_hood_audio/ , and here in print.

This was different.
He was different:

Asked my name, I told him. He smiled. I smiled back.
Why wouldn’t I? He turned, bent over the flowers –
trilliums, I think, and something pink.

A trickle of noise, a single pebble falling down a rain stick.

Look he said, look at this trout lily – it’s pushed through
winter’s leaf-mat. Leaf-mat: nobody talked like that.
And this collar of leaves hugging the stem.
He flicked the leaves away. His fingers went

Flick.

I said I had to go.

What’s your hurry? Don’t be such a schoolgirl.

Of course I was a schoolgirl.

Look, he said, throwing his arm toward the trees,
making his fingers dance like dust motes
in sunlight: look where you are. Where we are.

He leaned against a tree, propped one foot and pushed
his sole back against the trunk. From a shirt pocket pulled a pack.

I’m not allowed to smoke, I blurt.

He tapped the bottom, shook one out, brought it to his lips, smiled.
Didn’t take his eyes off me as he lit the tip. The sting
of sulphur up my nose, his in–
suck of breath. He shook out the match, dropped it.

Smoking’s not allowed in the forest – but I didn’t say, just thought it.

Nobody ever looked at me in a way that made me feel the look.
Said my name like it mattered. Showed me

plants, like tiny drink umbrellas in Shirley Temples, folded
under my feet, beneath my hands – my hands.

I could feel
pulsing, my wrist or maybe

my heart.

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Sea Level (Baseline Press, 2013) finalist for the 2012 CBC Literary Nonfiction awards

Woods Wolf Girl (Wolsak and Wynn, 2011) 2012 finalist Relit Best Book of Canadian Poetry

Crow (Black Moss Press, 2011) 2012 long list Relit Best Book of Canadian Poetry

Cornelia Hoogland is professor emeritus at the University of Western Ontario. She writes and lives on Hornby Island, B.C.