ossuary VIII (by Dionne Brand)

1                 Havana. Yasmine arrived one early evening,
2                                        the stem of an orange dress,
3                         a duffle bag, limp, with no possessions
4the sea assaulted the city walls,
5the air,
6the birds assaulted the sea
7she's not coastal,
8more used to the interiors of northern cities,
9not even their ancillary, tranquil green-black lakes
10though nothing was ever tranquil about her,
11being there out of her elemental America
12unsettles her, untethers her
13being alive, being human, its monotony
14discomfited her anyway, the opaque nowness,
15the awareness, at its primal core, of nothing
The rest of the poem cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Publication Notes: 
Dionne Brand, Ossuaries (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 2010). This poem is reproduced on the Griffin Prize Web Site (from the winning volume on the 2011 Canadian Shortlist).
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2011