When I was sixteen, my math teacher slipped me clues during tests
“Ka-hi-li, calme toi”, he’d say,
adding an extra syllable to my name
That math was an abstraction

It was another eight years before I got my driver’s license
The first time I drove the car alone
I swung it wide in my parent’s drive
and put a pole-shaped dent in the side door

It was a green 1992 mustang
When my gramma bought it, I was one,
wearing the clothes my niece wears now:
cute waving frills of pink striped cotton.

She was born seven months ago, 
weighing less than seven pounds
five months before you asked me to marry you,
and flew to a three day job somewhere in middle America

two days before they closed
the world’s longest continuous unguarded border,

three and a half months ago now.



In the event of
Everything being too much
(it always was)
Cultivate the virtue of vanishing

On the occasion of
Everything being too rough
(it always was)
Cultivate the virtue of resistance

In light of
Current events
(it’s new and it isn’t)
Cultivate beans, carrots, kale

(and buy chicks – if they are back in stock)




I sat, crying
concussion brain reeling
feelings, feelings, feelings


up the steep saddle
between two smallish mountains
above Taylor Lake


you let me decide
to go on or just cry



Sunwarmed butter
Bread torn in hunks
Black coffee, fresh ground
Green grass smell strong
Four hours of sunshine
Only one shadow



bullet blender breaks
floating flakes freeze frame
shit storm surges surely
memories mornings make



At night fall,
Turn on a gentle white whirring
Hang a large black cloth over each window
Squeeze orange foam to stop the ear drum’s resonance with the dark
In blue ballpoint, write the day’s missed marks
Burn the list

Embrace the virtue of vanishing



Momma, I am quarantine in your house
You are far away from this contagion
Writing to you, I want to sprinkle but I douse
I remove skin, no gentle microdermabrasion

Two bridal magazines from the one in my mess
Who I can’t help but let all the way in
Everything pink and white: pink (“white”) skin, white dress
Four hundred years of unacknowledged sin

I need the full hour but I was slow to rise
I forget that first words are hard to recover from
I forget that I need to fully clear my eyes
Of a life’s worth of never joining the scrum

Come to me, muse of the one I no longer choose
I am tired, awake early, and the coffee is slow to brew



I’m Kaili. I’m a singer and songwriter from Toronto, Canada. This is my fourth time participating in the poetry marathon. I’m doing the half marathon this year!

Hour Six

On three square blocks I’ve lived a good life
Home, work, grocery, liquor, books, clothes
Everything I need I can get on foot
Everything I don’t need too.

Hour Five

A twelve month
A waymarker
A handful of gleanings
The sound of her words expanding their meanings

The winter that won’t end
The greenest of greens
The water on the highway
The crisp, crisp blue

There is only ever this:
Unclench your fists

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