Little Wildheart

By turns quirky, startling, earthy, and hope-filled, Micheline Maylor’s poems slip effortlessly through topics ranging from what we give up as we age to regrets for love that has passed, the interplay between the animal world and human thought, and the myths we append to ourselves and others. An expansive, conversational voice underscores the poet’s technical mastery as her subjects turn from love to hope to fearlessness. Maylor asks readers to perceive how we inhabit our selves, how words construct us. Little Wildheart is rich with challenge and surprise.

I check the box on the government forms: Caucasian. No box
for colonized, for the 1/16th bred. Just the double helix of my DNA,
my ability to sun-brown, and my own green-eyed children
of the voyageur, river visions still caught in their irises.
We’re born out of a long ago season.
Everyone is sure of place and race. Blood and semen
mixed in dirt and cervix, convex and enchanted by muskrat’s eerie smile,
dark truth furred and matted, stroked by a river paddle.
Let that long tooth bite now in the land of the race riots,
negro, and redskin, the underground railroad,
and the Indian village.
Let the name Pontiac take new form and hit the road,
the righteous mile where judgement and boundary blurs,
especially on matters of composition
blood, bone, and relations.

—from “Detroit Zoo bathroom 1977”

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Front cover 1
Title page 4
Copyright page 5
Dedication 6
Epigraph 8
Contents 10
We are entirely flammable 12
Autobiography 13
Convergence 14
The lovers 15
Dissilience 16
Ten 17
In Saskatchewan, surrealism invades the silence 19
Rewind 20
Rust 22
Conscientious objectors 23
Polarity 24
Before the dark 25
Morning on the old reserve 26
Detroit Zoo bathroom 1977 27
Legend/agenda 28
Prayer of the agnostic 29
Constitution 30
Oh, by the way 31
Unrequited 32
Red sky at morning 33
The narrative 34
Three dogs and an old man 35
Almanac of the Douglas fir 36
Cormorants 37
Le deluge 38
For there are still such mysteries, and such advice 39
Consecrated grounds 41
Rapid eye movement 42
Ooh nom 43
About suffering 45
If you 46
No snow falls 47
Pupil 48
How to be in a garden 49
Fleece 51
Thorn apples 52
Dust 53
Another day of feminist perspective 54
Relativity 55
Reasons for learning cursive 56
I always wanted a tattoo 57
Of appreciation 59
Self portrait at 2:45 am 60
Firewall 61
Inclement 62
Dive 63
Evacuation 64
Mercurial 65
Citizenship of the broken heart 66
Fear of water 67
The chosen 68
Let free 69
Ordinary days 70
Drop of doom 71
There is no place that does not see you 73
Between the trees 74
Talisman pool 75
I’ve forgotten more than I knew 76
Free 77
Benediction 78
I bet you already knew 79
Acknowledgements 82
Closing epigraph 84
About the Author 86
Other Titles from The University of Alberta Press 89