I knew it was risky; I wouldn’t be able to keep away
Like a junkie, standing at the window, an outsider
Needing to use, to be part of, my body craved the paint
The way an addict craves the juice—don’t ask me
How I know—I know—I have, I guess you could say
Intimate knowledge, and it is fearsome, this craving
This ache to take up the brush again, after so long

Every minute I spent there, not walking away
Just staring at the tubes of colour—magnolia, viridian
carnelian—and fresh white spotless canvases, displayed
Laid out like stretchers as if placed there just for me—
Carried me closer to going on one of my sprees

And deny as I might—and believe me, there was some
Desperate denying dancing around inside my head—
I could still leave anytime—really, just turn on
My heel and go—some part of me knew
That my reserves were eking away and once gone
So would I be—gone that is—lost to the god of art


Trapped by powers
no longer in concert
with the storm
that is life-force
This babe deserves
reprieve; already
a husk is all that remains
of her tiny body
kept breathing
by a machine bolted
to the earth,
When her
soul weeps from
every corner of heaven

All of those in attendance
rail at the injustice
of parents
such as these
seemingly unshaken
by what their brutality
has brought,
They remain
stolid in their resolve
to keep the babe
in purgatory,
not permitting her
to climb out, nor
even to become ash.

Until the courts
deemed it otherwise
Then, they are
less than damp
bundles by
the curb
finally, the
trash they have
proved themselves to be …

And she is soaring.

Background for this poem for those interested:
This is based on a true case that’s been in the news here recently. In May, twin girls were apprehended from their parents when it was discovered that the two year girls weighed 16 and 13 pounds respectively and were in cardiac arrest. In effect, they are thought to have been starving and beating the girls. One was in a coma that she never came out of. It was just this week that the courts ruled on the removal of the breathing apparatus which is why the case is fresh again.

Their older brother was healthy but was also removed from their care as they were placed under arrest and charged with aggravated assault, criminal negligence causing bodily harm and denying the necessities of life. There is some talk that the parents didn’t want their daughter removed from life support because if she died, there would be a homicide charge added to their other charges. All of these charges are as yet “alleged” but as one might expect, feelings are running pretty high here.

It doesn’t help that the parents are Muslim and that they tried to use their religious and cultural beliefs as a reason for keeping their daughter on life support. Even though, by law in Canada, they cannot be identified, to protect the identity of the children (an odd law and practically useless in this case as there are a number of identifying points) the Islamic community came out against them rather pointedly saying there was nothing in the religion prohibiting this action etc.

Just to clarify, the second twin did survive and is apparently doing well in foster care. It hasn’t been confirmed whether she is with her brother or not … I can’t help but think both of them will need extensive therapy at some point … sad case all around.