Kimberley Orton

Overburst I

Popping tar bubbles in the middle of the road on the cul-de-sac in summer. Lava cakes, molten licorice stucky hillocks, overburst of what lies, lives beneath. My four-year-old thumbnail makes crosses in each, pressing for tension, testing for what is at the ready, ripe. I move in. Ear to asphalt, I connect to the wellspring, hear earth’s lament her sorrowful ungluing, black shiny liquid spills onto, under my nail, down the sideways, crush of bubble. The release soothes. I expect it to feel more perilous, sear, pulse like the burn of the black road under my legs, my body marooned, my undersides wet with blister. Pebble pocked I am residue held, pushed into the shape of a girl. My father admonishes I have dirty fingernails and I will worry about this until I die, but it isn’t dirt. It is life.


Close-up selfie of Kimberly Orton, a woman with dirty blond hair that is partially covering her right eye. Kimberly is wearing a white shirt and loop earrings, and she is smiling at the camera.

Kimberley Orton has been published by CV2, West End Phoenix, League of Canadian Poets, Book of Matches and Understorey Magazine. Known for her writings about strong women who, through sharing their stories, are able to (re)connect themselves to one another, notions of sanity, and feelings of place, Kimberley explores themes of grief and inheritance in her new poetry collection, Buried Streams. She is a recent graduate of UBC’s Creative Writing MFA program.

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