Shannon Quinn


Nodding off on the slow I.V. drip

of winter’s third trimester,

we the morphined, the moon-shined,

the induced amnesiacs and the bicycle thieves,

have been schooled that to see sadness in each other

is embarrassing

to name it is rude—

a wild act of shaming

one who cannot hide their misery.

My covey and I have

legs like twisted roots,

skin pulled taut,

smiles cracked tight and hard.

Collectively dreaming of an abiding coldness,

our tapped out veins

weather the indignity of warm blood

insisting on the beginning of a season—

spring thaw.


 First Vertigo

One tower is a suburban theatre

of misinformation.

The second is built from a list

of inner city mortifications

(that comes with being poor and a girl).

Between them on a suspension bridge

of unevenly distributed memories

is this girl’s heart

punching through sparse expectations,

acquiring a fretwork of scars

as epitaph or footnote

in this first vertigo.

The toll taker dispenses

long distance council.

Ticker tape fortunes

to sort, rank, trade,

as she finds her footing

above loud and ambitious waters.



Redwoods thunder alongside the car,

but my matches are damp

and I no longer collapse time,

only toggle over good ideas

(losing precious moments in the pause).

All I wanted was one year of anarchy

but I came out with a banged up copper heart

as a keepsake and sediment in my voice—

not the canyons and fields of Ella—­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

I’ve got ocean garbage in my throat,

and not even church basement coffee drinkers

want anything to do with the pain I’m tending

as if I had a gospel hoarding on suffering

instead of this aching addict instinct to burn

brighter than a fire edged hymn.


Shannon Quinn lives in Toronto, Canada. Her work has appeared in The Literary Review of CanadaExistereRuminateHalfway Down the Stairs and is forthcoming in Thin Air and Ideomancer.

Posted on July 7, 2014 .