Solstice I hate this season of aerosol expectations, too much chocolate, stale traditions, efforts to saturate teens with nostalgic spirit when one family evening is a lifetime stolen from their real world of friends. I cling to outgrown games to slow my daughters’ inevitable drift —empty arms. What ballast can I add? Presents or guilt. I might gift-wrap the girls in shimmering foil, Place them beneath a tree whose needles drop, distant chimes echoing tired carols I still know by heart. But they’d shake free, cry hypocrisy. The most I believe in, strong enough to offer in cupped palms, is the quench of seedling light along passage grave’s sunpath. Every candle lit against the dark I’m just beginning to fear, I gather family to the hearth, shadows faltering across our faces.
Frances Boyle was raised in Regina, and lived in Montreal and Vancouver before settling in Ottawa. She is the author of two books of poetry: This White Nest (Quattro Books, 2019) and Light-carved Passages (BuschekBooks, 2014 as well as Seeking Shade, short stories (The Porcupine’s Quill, 2020) and Tower, a Rapunzel-influenced novella (Fish Gotta Swim Editions, 2018). Her writing has been nominated for Best of the Net, and appeared throughout North America, in the U.K. and in India. Recent and forthcoming publications include Best Canadian Poetry 2020, Blackbird, Dreich, Prairie Fire, Event, Ayaskala, Ice Floe, Mookychick, Vox Viola and Humana Obscura. Frances was part of the editorial team at Arc Poetry Magazine for 10 ½ years, and now reviews poetry books for that journal and for Canthius: feminism and literary arts. Visit www.francesboyle.com and follow @francesboyle19 on Twitter and Instagram.