Tammy Armstrong (Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada): Four Poems


This begins my affair:
this new face in our bed.

Fastidiousness spatchcocked
into shiftless lust
in a basement tavern
where the base boys
dance with undergrads
and we drink with blind date enthusiasm.

Treat me proverbial,
chalky with wine and newness,
bringing it all to bed
while he’s away on a road trip.

This perennial hook-up
leaves alarm clocks,
toothbrush rituals in the margins.
Back story:
a much younger you,
a .12 gauge, a chipmunk.
The words don’t matter at last call.

Take me home in the van—
a box of finishing nails
in the back,
a weeks worth of Globe and Mails
nested on the passenger seat.

If they ask, tell them.
Yes, we left the Chevron,
near the Tannery
around three—
a new pack of smokes
paid for from an ambitious wallet.
Clearly, single before tonight.


We needed a memory
for a meal no one could finish.
Hooked index fingers into bowls of black—
cursive graffiti
along the dining room table.

Not contained on sponge pads
cover charge bar stamps
the ink pooled cabaret make-up.
Not all offerings from the ocean are grand.

Squid like a boxed ear
swollen, cut
re-shaped into a gift
an adjustable ring from a small town carnival
from a lover who doesn’t know me well.
I’d marry if asked.

But these rings bloat the rice indigo
marring late night calligraphy
when we can’t see how
we’ve outstayed another welcome.


We dressed too early for the funeral:
at the card table, third pot of coffee
killing time
with button talk,
how stitches never match eyelets
and you as small boy
taught in French how to repair a torn knee . . .

Thick fingered, you thread a needle
tighten each button on the suit jacket
tailored in Thailand
asking if the weave
is worn too shiny
from months in your backpack.

Hours from now I’ll gather the suit
from the kitchen tiles—
stripped as though in flames.
I’ll smooth the shoulder pads
to the wooden hanger
align the buttons
while you stand, near naked
in the living room
Standard Muffler sign
our only light.


What to say except
you unfolded backwards
bled out on the bathroom tiles.

The matador’s thorned banderilla
into your temple:
pale shards
of pre-tempered windshield
the nurse combed from your scalp
forty years before.

Carnations tossed at odd angles
onto your wife’s voice
hovering in the bathroom
above the uneven grid of rumour.

You wanted to tell her
near the Tyvek wrapped garage
you’d shot a groundhog that morning
hid the blood soil
from the kids
beneath a scout tent.

Where to go
but toward a red cape
a matador standing on his shadow—
the unsuspected migraine
that thrusts your history
into a helix
Saturday Post obituary.


  • Adam Fieled
  • Powered by Blogger

    October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 July 2006 August 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 December 2009 July 2016 November 2016 January 2017 February 2017 June 2017