fertile week

the peas are in the ground and maybe it’ll work

this time. I kiss your shoulders and crack jokes,

one day on, one day off, just like our doctor said,

and when the clock reads 11:11

our fingers twine, and we hold on so tight.


downborder, they’re stealing bodies: put her in the dirt

and chant the words, she’ll do your furtive will. a million

Murder Legendre brides reduced to flickering black and white

haunted house inspections; a million colonial possessions.

downborder, they shackle women by the waist in case we miss the point.


it took us so long to be ready for this.

to feel it turn to bullets under my lips.

when i took your hand, my hand was mine.


it’s been a greyling spring, all rain, no relief in sight:

one day on and one day off. this year I’ll build a trellis

so the soft green leaves can climb, pea tendrils curious

as new fingers stretching wide. this year I build walls

that are secretly ladders, designed to overcome,

strategically constructed to let in the sun. to let you in,

chin high, arms wide, precaution circumspection set aside,


all of us waiting through the blood-daubed protest signs,

craning necks over knees to the flickering screens

waiting breath-held as the baton moves inside

to be cracked across the face with an open-handed joy.


Author: Leah Bobet

Novelist, editor, and critic Leah Bobet’s novels have won the Sunburst, Copper Cylinder, and Aurora Awards, been Ontario Library Association’s Best Bets, and shortlisted for the Andre Norton Award. Her short fiction has appeared in multiple Year’s Best anthologies and is taught in high school and university classrooms in Canada, Australia, and the US, and her poetry appears in both speculative and literary journals. She was a founding editor at Abyss & Apex, editor of Ideomancer Speculative Fiction, and guest poetry editor for Reckoning: creative writing on environmental justice’s 2021 issue. She lives in Toronto, where she makes jam, builds civic engagement spaces, and plants both tomatoes and trees. Visit her at www.leahbobet.com.

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