Eimear Laffan; Contiguity



It’s winter.


Schopenhauer describes how during this cold season

porcupines nestle together

to find warmth

only to experience

the pain of one another’s



The dilemma presupposes

an optimal distance

and so the animals move

back and forth

in search

of a bearable closeness.




I didn’t know

at certain times in the Arctic

there is no horizon,

nothing to separate

earth from sky.


You didn’t tell me.                                                                             




I am only wanting

to reconcile (inside my skin),


to arrest the tissue

of language.                                (Oh I know this desire will return to haunt me).


One of these days

one of these I’s

will spy

a well-lit street sign


and reclaim the throat.




The weather hardly matters. 

What matters is this:

a morning is no longer

a missing, my skin

no longer subject

to spines.


Last night I saw a cat in my sleep. The dream book urges caution, declares cats to be gentle when they want to be.  Oh dream, you are beyond late to this party. Perhaps my unconscious was biding its time, recognising my inclination to disregard detail that refused to sit comfortably inside my carefully constructed story.   


How do I say I am culling a residual

that is alive in me?


How do I say I am mapping

an incessant egress

as I stare at the coffee

sand acrylic canvas

to remind myself


what materiality is made of? 


And if I say I do,

how do I?




In the bottle green library, I run

my fingertips along the spines

of books that have been touched

by more hands than will ever touch me.


Desire nascent beneath the crust.


Inside the sealed glass of my body

the red line of mercury once more poised

to rise, to ground

the circularity. 


The smallest shift speaks eloquently.


See the variety of blues the sky expresses

any leased day.


Look. Just look. 




A single photograph doesn’t speak

like a sequence. Resonance

has its own mouth, its own tongue.


No spots of time rest in the accretion.


The surface of memory effaced,

how the pumice grates hard skin.


Only the softness remains now:


early spring,

the first runnel reacquainting

itself with the fissure,


to fill it in.


Here now is where articulation begins.



Eimear Laffan, Tipperary born, lives and writes in the mountains of British Columbia where it is, of course, snowing. 

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