MILKWEED
Lillian Necakov

The bicycle that broke your life leans against the garden shed. The garland of wind round its neck is like a small haiku or a desperate prayer. There is the smell of lilac and the taste of blood rust. No harm done here. And the crippled sofa holds you in her delirious arms whispering “hard days to come”.

Summer stops at the edge of the water. The milkweed softens under September rains. No man can carry his coffin with one arm. Yet you still listen to their expectations, to your sister’s broken heart, to the surgeon’s mantra. Listen for the promise of dancing through a combustible love, cheek to cheek, listen.

You drag your skin, heavy as a mountain, out into the flaccid night. Each star is a breath not yet taken. You fold every adjective you have ever uttered into your mouth and swallow. The song that bubbles up through the darkness is like a secret against your lips. So you walk, into a thousand goodbyes and still, it is night.

The machine still begs to be ridden, there is no city you can hide behind. This story of you, fierce as a gash, drifting in and out of sleep. The bags of gauze and the quiet animal lying next to you. All adding up to a firing squad. No, not a firing squad, a Sunday, like any other, a Sunday, like any other.


Lillian Necakov is the author of Sickbed of Dogs (Wolsak and Wynn, 1989), Polaroids (Coach House Books, 1997), Hat Trick (Exile Editions, 1998), The Bone Broker (Mansfield Press, 2007), Hooligans (Mansfield Press 2011), and The Lake Contains an Emergency Room (Apt. 9 Press, 2015). She runs the Boneshaker Reading Series in Toronto.