Troy Jollimore

August 23, 2016 Jollimore Troy



Everyone here has so many faces,

And I have only a few. I have

to wear the same faces over and over.


Because of this the people here think me unfriendly,

they warn their children against me, they complain

my language deafens them, stuffed like dead husks

in their ears. When evening comes I taste my food alone.


Has he who owns little disowned much?

One should not pick ripe fruit from the dead tree,

my parents once taught me. There is a freedom

we only pretend to understand.

When you let a thing go, how far does it fall

in one second? How far does it fall in a year?


And don’t you fall too, with the same speed and in the opposite direction?


The number of dreams one has walked through, smiling

or crying, is not among the things

we are permitted to know.

But I recognize the unconceived songs

of my sisters and brothers in the sound of the rain

that is caught in the highest leaves.


Some invisible hour I lived through meant

I was more than halfway to the end. Not knowing

which one it might be, not knowing what I am,

I thought only that I must be some

indivisible thing. Then, at long last,


in a bed in which I was not allowed

to be anything but a stranger, half of me

woke, felt the sun on the skin of his face,

put two feet on the floor, and resolved


to walk into the day, as if walking

away from an unmapped place toward

an unremembered place, singing

a meaningless song as if singing could be a meaning.

Troy Jollimore’s books of poetry are Syllabus of Errors, At Lake Scugog, and Tom Thomson in Purgatory, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry in 2006.