Poetry by Michelle

Providence Crematorium
Penticton, B.C.

A small building
with a tall slim smokestack
sits beside the lake
bike path behind it
cemetery behind that

prime real estate
given over to the business of dying

but for the sign
you’d think they were
smoking fish

when I ride past on my bike
and see the haze
above the smokestack
I cringe at the idea
that I will smell death –
inhale it with the fresh
autumn air
in which everything today
feels so alive

but death doesn’t smell

it gives no sign of its presence
except for the wisp of warm air
I ride through
for but an instant

like a hand upon my arm.
— Michelle Barker, First published online in Autumn Sky Poetry (www.autumnskypoetry.com) Issue 17

Michelle Barker's books on Goodreads
Old Growth, Clear-Cut: Poems of Haida Gwaii Old Growth, Clear-Cut: Poems of Haida Gwaii
ratings: 1 (avg rating 5.00)

The Beggar King The Beggar King
reviews: 8
ratings: 21 (avg rating 4.00)

Tesseracts 14: Strange Canadian Stories Tesseracts 14: Strange Canadian Stories
reviews: 4
ratings: 15 (avg rating 4.07)

Tesseracts Fifteen: A Case of Quite Curious Tales Tesseracts Fifteen: A Case of Quite Curious Tales
reviews: 4
ratings: 14 (avg rating 3.79)

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Inspiration

Queen Charlotte Wings

“You were born with wings. Why prefer to crawl through life?”  – Rumi

Fireweed

“There are hundreds of ways
to kneel and kiss the ground.”
– Rumi

Canoe

“Waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel? Well, stride down there and light the damn
thing yourself!”  – Samantha O’Connor

Pipes

“Inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic energy striving, but it comes to us slowly and quietly and all the time.”  – Brenda Ueland

Queen Charlottes

“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it;
if you can dream it, you can become it.”
– William Arthur Ward

Water

“Every morning brings with it a hidden blessing.”
– Paul Coelho

Mountains

“And as to me, I know of nothing else but miracles.”
– Walt Whitman

Queen Charlottes

“Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries,
And daub their natural faces unaware.”
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Queen Charlottes

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
– Thomas Edison

Sunflower

“Ever since happiness heard your name,
it has been running through the streets trying
to find you.” – Hafiz