“Confidentiality” by Tia McLennan, from Arc’s 2021 Shortlist



Now you have full access. I have
updated your address and added
your darkest thoughts to the file.
You must fill out the forms
using only spit and moonlight.
If you forget your password, press
your face to the earth in springtime.
If you cannot recover it
using this method, try lying
in a dim room and imagine
the ocean on a calm day or call
the number at the bottom of the
screen. Though be advised due to
high tides, wait times are longer
than normal. Your code will expire
tomorrow at midnight, dissolving
into a heavy spring dew that will
briefly silver the morning.
If the light is right.
If you are there to see it.




Emily Stewart on “Confidentiality”

“Confidentiality” immediately strikes me as a clever and charming poem. Its mix of technology and nature imagery elevates the mundane, pushing the often-nebulous concepts of confidentiality and privacy in a hyperconnected world into the surreal with its use of the imperative—and it manages to do all this while remaining concise and easy to read.



Tia McLennan has had poetry published in various Canadian literary journals including CV2, Prairie Fire, Room, Vallum and Riddle Fence. She resides in the unceded territory of the Beothuck and Mi’kmaq people known as St. John’s, on the island of Ktaqmkuk (Newfoundland) with her partner and their son.

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