Cheese Poetry: The Animacy of Floods

Our Cheese issue launches May 27th at Make and features a poem by Selina Boan. Here on the web, we've got another poem by this brilliant young poet for you.

The Fall Line by Vanessa Lam

The Fall Line by Vanessa Lam

The Animacy of Floods
by Selina Boan

The way an ice cube melts
between teeth and cheek
I want to soften into my own body,
learn the words for ground, and love,
and like, in Cree
things are being blue,
are being green,
and inside my fridge
last night looks
like circles of creamed fat
gone sour

I meant to make something more
of myself today, to be a bay
means water lives in Potawatomi
and inside my mouth is a flooding apartment
where a slice of sugar drowns
in a dixie cup,
where I circle the floor
retrieving lake remains from tile,
mispronouncing my own name,
cupboards and salt sinking -
the snap and wave
of breath everywhere -

and eyes, how eyes open
melt to water
if you look long enough,
on the porch, some things
are being red,
are being blue,
and inside the barbeque
a week of storms
scatters rain memory,
needles of fir,
how grammar knows us,
how I’m learning to fit myself
under the sky,
to take my tongue off
and put it on again


Selina Boan currently lives on unceded Musqueam, Sḵwxwú7mesh, and Tsleil-Waututh land. Her work has been shortlisted for the 2016 CBC Poetry Prize and she was a 2016 National Magazine award finalist for poetry. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry Is Dead and The New Quarterly, among others. She is the Circulation Editor at PRISM international and is currently at work on a collection of poems exploring her Cree and European heritage.

Vanessa Lam lives and works in Vancouver, British Columbia as a mixed media painter. Her work was featured in recent issues of Create Magazine and Uppercase Magazine. She was awarded first place in the 2014 Semiahmoo Arts Juried Art Exhibit. Vanessa has exhibited and sold her work at various community venues and public galleries across the Lower Mainland. This June, she will be attending the Takt Artist Residency in Berlin, Germany. Find more of Vanessa's work at