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Sonnet l'Abbé

Issue Three: April 1, 2020


glinting in the endless, scrolling river of my feed

a shard of hatred cut me when all I meant to do was read

I saw angry men raise heil salutes in a conference room somewhere

and wondered who could soften them with bleeding or with care

but blood is what they hanker for our howl pleases their ears

so in bloodless flint of document I hiphop all my fears


Shame is a wire cage around my muzzle. My hairy lip is curled in a snarl

of hatred but it is a hairy lip and so you win. I was too little for razors.

But not for the news, the good news, of the deal: shave off the mature animal

and be domestically kept, well-husbanded. In my head, I was plucked

before I learned to speak. In real life no conscious husband plucked me,

I was left fruiting on the vine of story, heads full of teeth

never fully climbing from my womb. The swirls above the fontanelles

firming into unformed births in my walls. The hairs on my lip still

hoping they are harder to see through the metal gridmesh over my mouth.


Sonnet L’Abbé is a poet, songwriter, and public speaker. They are the winner of the Bronwen Wallace Award and the bp Nichol Chapbook Award. Their first two poetry collections are A Strange Relief and Killarnoe, and in their most recent book, Sonnet’s Shakespeare, they overwrite all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Quill and Quire called Sonnet’s Shakespeare “one of the most audacious volumes of poetry to appear in this country” and named it a Book of the Year. L’Abbé was the editor of Best Canadian Poetry 2014 and was the 2015 Edna Staebler Writer in Residence at Wilfrid Laurier University. Dr. L’Abbé currently teaches creative writing and English at Vancouver Island University. Twitter/Insta/FB @sonnetlabbe

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