In Green

Robin Blackburn McBride - IN GREEN

Guernica, 2002

From the back cover:

“Robin Blackburn’s poems move through family mythologies, shifts and mysteries. Connections and disintegrations both form and reform the figures depicted. Characters refuse burial. Images of breaking and mending, stories of exile, return, and metamorphosis are ruminations on the nature of life, love and living memory in a world of change. Passion is the constant in these visions.”

Illustration by Hono Lulu

$12 Canada

$10 U.S.A.

ISBN 1-55071-154-7

Read an Excerpt from In Green

Woman and Wolf

The animal must have been tied

deep inside her

wrapped sticky wet

around her bones


from all who stared


just how exactly she was marked.

Claws everywhere

were disguised

by the smiles she learned

as a child,

one of ten

at a dining room table.

Her lace collar was tight

around the beating tail.

She thought it was her heart.

“My goodness,”

she said one day at last,

“I seem to have swallowed a wolf.”

The woodcutter came into the wrong story.

Slit the woman with a knife he used

for carving chairs.

She lay there embarrassed by her entrails

which a lady wasn’t supposed to show—

apologized for the matted fur

the second heart beat

and a howl

she was sure she didn’t eat on purpose.

The man kept slicing.

She lay wide open

Amidst the table settings,

silver serving trays,

turnips and spoon

beside her left ear.

Down alongside her right hip

was the little gravy boat

that had sailed with the family

from that port in Annan

all those years ago

before the woman and wolf were born

right here in this farm house

with its rose-covered carpets.

The other offspring cowered.

Checked themselves for lupine tendencies.

“Hold her ankles while I pull her out,”

said the woodcutter.

The father held one ankle,

the husband held the other,

and beside her right ear

with the plate of boiled carrots

her mother must have said,

“Hold still,”

because she was very still

compared to the animal

scuttling out

who left

its bloody paw prints on the roses.

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