The Book of Life

Elliston, NF by Victoria Butler

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"Even a natural disaster can't shake off / the disaster that is love, a woundedness that won't let you skulk away."

Isabelle Zhu tackles subjects of time, love, nostalgia and an innovative use of a classic literary canon in her references to Noah's Ark. We're so excited to republish her poem and Victoria Butler's photograph, both originally published in AV 142.1.

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On the last day of August, city after city become flood headlines.
No ark this time, and the animals stay with us in our watery graves,
companions until death. Even a natural disaster can't shake off

the disaster that is love, a woundedness that won't let you skulk away;
ill-starred lovers continue to stab themselves (and each other) to death,
a dog waits at a train station for an owner that's ten years deceased.

In sun-spotted rain, you wonder if he feels time passing
through his mangled fur, if today still feels like yesterday
so ten years is no time at all. It's been no time at all

since the last flood, the last day I saw you, the first crack
of the continental drift--you looked at me like you'd see me
in what we'd call an hour, which is no time at all.

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Isabelle Zhu lives and writes in Toronto. She is currently writing a sonnet sequence exploring the affective unwieldiness of intimacy and trauma. In September she will be pursuing her MA in English Literature and Creative Writing at University of Toronto.

Victoria Butler is a Bruce Springsteen fangirl from Barrie, Ontario. She is the Editor-in-Chief of The Northern Appeal. You can find more of her photos on her instagram, @msbutler21.