menu Arc Poetry Magazine
Contest

“Change is a Slow Erosion” by Leah MacLean-Evans, from Arc’s 2020 Shortlist

“Change is a Slow Erosion” by Leah MacLean-Evans


 

Change is a Slow Erosion

The water contains more
matter than my body. My body contains
more matter than the air:
so we three float,
layered.

The brown dog appears
each night by the campfire.
He sits against my leg,
breathing. Flames flow over logs
like water falling upward.

June beetles rattle in flight and hop
into the fire. Sitting on live
embers, their wings open but they don’t
fly out.

The pills give me wild
uncomfortable dreams:

my father cheats
on my mother;

a room of vintage toys
is kept secret in their house;

as I write the final answer, my brother pulls
away the paper.

In the beach sand
I find a tiny quartz crystal
the size and shape
of a baby tooth.

Dysthymia means everything
is always a little bit
terrible.

Fireflies blink green at popping sparks,
as if sparks can be convinced
to change their minds, or
state of being.

The brown dog’s fur is coarse
on his sides, soft on his ears.
I brush the sand out. We listen in the dark
to the invisible river, the tide hushing in.

I am floating,
my lungs holding
air, my cells
holding water. The pills
holding chemicals
in my synapses.

Flames flow over logs like
water falling upward.

 


 

Sarah Tsiang on “Change is a Slow Erosion”

In these rapidly evolving times, “Change is a Slow Erosion” brings us back into a meditative reverie wherein the narrator’s poetic attention to both the body and the world allows us to see moments of connection. Change becomes as fundamental as a state of being.

 


 

Leah MacLean-Evans writes poems and stories. Her work has appeared in CV2, untethered, Qwerty, On Spec Magazine, and elsewhere. She was the 2017 fiction winner of the Blodwyn Memorial Prize and the 2018 winner of the League of Canadian Poets’ National Broadsheet contest. She has an MFA in Writing from the University of Saskatchewan, is the proofreader of Grain, and a member of Canthius’ editorial board.