"Daintier, Terribler"


Ben Gallagher

Ben Gallagher is a poet and essayist currently living between Toronto, ON, and Lunenburg, NS. He is in the middle of a PhD at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, researching non-linear pedagogy and poetic practices in community poetry workshops. He recently became a father and spends large portions of his day happily stacking blocks and picking up cereal from under the high chair. Recent work can be found in untethered, Sewer Lid, The Puritan, (parenthetical), and Arc, among other places.

"'Daintier, Terribler' takes its title and its starting point from Emily Dickinson's poem F242, which is a reflection on secret pain. I was thinking about the death of my partner and the hidden pain of her now unmarked birth date — as well as the way in which my own life impulses continue regardless of my thoughts about them."

     One thrown snowball away

     from a torn rotator cuff

     and so the world goes

     Today you were born, once

                  I reflect on death

     and how nothing really changes 

     still hoping for love

     the plans, affirmed, and family

     only there's a thorn

                               which is you


     which is me, heavy

     and the moon crescent

     faint glow

               the soul at play

     even when I don't

     feel like playing

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