Shane Neilson

The Weeping Tense         

(for the listeners)

There’s too little light in this room,
I have something to tell you – 

Lean closer, I’ll write more quickly,
I promise, I love you –

don’t cry – 

over the kitchen counter
clearing scraps, I started  

weeping – 

Out the sliding door, I could see the unkempt grass
bullied by a fleeing wind –

and I was sad for the future, I thought of all the things he is, 

If emotion is useless,
then each tear is:
not exorcism,
not process,
but how I can’t do anything else; 
inflammatory mediators throwing flags into the brine of
the future, the future, the future, the future, the future 
is dripping onto the counter,
and in the fading light
we can still taste the salt
and say,
at least –

a love you can choke on, and get, heavy – wearing, grinding
at least – 

so close now, your face, ear
and the future

Shane Neilson is a disabled poet, physician, and critic. He lives in Oakville, Ontario. He completed his PhD in English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University in 2018 (focus on disability studies) for which he received the Governor General’s Gold Medal. A previous book, Dysphoria (PQL, 2017) was awarded the Hamilton Literary Award for Poetry in 2018. He is the festival director of the AbleHamilton Poetry Festival which just successfully completed its second run. His poems appeared in Poetry Magazine in April of this year. Work from his latest book, New Brunswick, has appeared on Verse Daily