Friday, 17 June 2016

Sudden Prose Reprints: Sarah Burgoyne's "The Basket Waltz"

The Basket Waltz

It was around that time of year when everyone decides to take their chances. The baker transformed into a cut of meat, and the funeral was solemn, the casket oddly-shaped. We hadn't learned any better, but then again, there was no one there to teach us. Asleep in the wild country, we watched the moths go up in flame.

Lay me down, prophets, and let me watch you read into things. It only took a couple of years to learn that the oracle can be sometimes wrong. One day, I taught her how to French braid her hair and from then on, braids became powerful symbols of widows. She told her secrets only to the dog, and when she died, the dog ran off into the woods, taking our bones with him.

When my daughter returns as an old woman, she’ll take up country singing. I’ll take up lodging in a nearby tree next to several spiders. We’ll spend our last days comparing webs, though I never will feel at the centre of mine. When my daughter passes, I’ll spin each note of "Walkin' After Midnight" into perfect white skeins of yarn.

Sarah Burgoyne
A Precarious Life on the Sea
above/ground press, 2016

To order a copy of A Precarious Life on the Sea, send cheques ($4 CAD, with $2 additional for postage outside Canada) to: rob mclennan, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa, ON, K1H 7M9 or paypal at

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