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“The Thimble’s Bucket List” from Arc’s 2019 Shortlist

Medrie Purdham’s “The Thimble’s Bucket List”


The Thimble’s Bucket List

To be a bucket. I mean, would a thimble aspire to be a bucket? Like a housecat to a sabretooth, like a leaf to a canopy: to grade up. To contain—yes!—an abundance.

To cap the digit of a falconer’s glove, to anchor flight’s first manoeuvre. To be needled by nature.

To be ornamented. To be indistinguishable from a crown in bird’s-eye-view, a trick of scale. To be stolen by a magpie. To line a nest, and to be overgrown there, sighing so much for the monarchy.

To be the subject of a child’s brass rubbing, metallic pastel on black.

To play a shell game with two others and a pearl.

To be the mortar to a pinch of cure.

To be lost while on a picnic. To stand empty in a crosswind, whiffling in the prickings.

To decorate a sundial, pepper the light in a garden. To learn increments of time, finally, that are not seconds.

To line the keyhole of a piano, to resonate. To name a note as the threshold of all trembling: maybe the middle b-flat. To know the child prodigy who played scales with one hand while catching flies with the other, stuffing their bodies into the keyhole. To be exactly that carnivorous. To be carnivorous to music.

To visit the Bayeux tapestry, reading the linen from the finished side. To see the horse, the hawk, the man, the war, the conference, the king, the fording of rivers with shields held high over heads.

To shield the storyteller. To let her put her hand in the Mouth of Truth and not mind the scorpion.

To jamb the torturer’s tong like a stone in the beak.

To fence, knowing intimately the poignant strategies of the foil.
                                                                                                                                  No, instead, to work.

To settle into detail. To work a dorset-wheel button, spoked with a hundred stitches. To keep revisiting the centre. To be touched again, again, again, again, again.


Doyali Islam on Medrie Purdham’s “The Thimble’s Bucket List”

Through playfulness, imagination, precise language, and musicality, Medrie Purdham’s “The Thimble’s Bucket List” makes excellent use of the ‘list’ poem. Purdham understands what it means to be a poet, and to be human: “to work. // … To keep / revisiting the centre. To be touched again, again, again, again, again.”


Medrie Purdham lives in Regina, SK. She has been published in journals across the country, anthologized three times in Tightrope Press’s Best Canadian Poetry series, and broadcast on the former CBC radio program Sound Xchange.