Back in July, we opened submissions for Poetry Moves on Transit’s fall 2016 flight on Edmonton Transit busses and trains. The submission call asked for “words about unknown people, places, experiences” in Edmonton. We received many great submissions, and we are pleased to announce the winning authors and their poems. Congratulations to all our winners, and special thanks to all who submitted their poems to this round.

Donsdale Cliff
by Adriana Onita

In the apricot light of afternoon,
the valley extends in a long thought.
The prairie, a blank endless page
stretches like a yawn. A deep breath.
To the right, a thick evergreen scarf
wraps around the river’s throat.
Here, so high, it all becomes clear.
Long before words: clay, dust, cliff, wind.
Long before words: nondigital stillness.
Love, made languageless. Made landscape.

Educator by day and poet by night, Adriana loves exploring the hidden corners of Edmonton.


take five, donuts
by Benjamin Hertwig

you are the product of strip malls and open skies,
the smell of sweet poplar and airless church basements.
after thirty years you have yet to find an all-night
Edmonton coffee shop but there’s a place on 118th
where part of the city gathers until midnight, shifting into
the warmest corners and the man behind the counter is kind.
he offers coffee and meringue, wears an apron like it’s
christmas after the war and he’s an actor in a
film about the wounded who’ve returned and that doesn’t mean
anything other than you’re here, he’s kind: it’s snowing again.

Benjamin Hertwig recommends the Take Five Boston Cream, and his first book of poems, Slow War, is coming out in 2017.


The Russian Tea Room
by Gianmarco Visconti

A sanctuary amidst the brick and concrete
Where no one really comes for tea
Peek in and see the dusty samovar
The fluorescently-lit line of cheesecakes
Immaculately round, frosting undisturbed
We do not come here to eat
We come to be read like newspaper clippings
Slid underneath the glass table tops
To seek council with a tarot deck, an empathetic voice
We order food as an offering of gratitude.

Gianmarco Visconti is a librarian, who loves birds and coffee, and he occasionally writes poetry.


Near the North Saskatchewan River*
by Naomi McIlwraith

Here in this Old Waiting Place, kayâsi-pêhonân
on the Old North Trail, kayâsi-mêskanâhk kîwêtinohk
like the people of long ago we wait, nipêhonân
as the Elder’s helper, oskâpêwis, fills the pipe with kinikinik
so the men can smoke together. Smoke from ancient tobacco
kayâsi cistêmâw, stretches backward and forward like the river
reaching…here and now a prayer hovering
between the past and the future. And the women
sit facing the men, a bridge to tomorrow.
ê-wîci-pîhtwâmitocik nâpêwak êkwa iskwêwak ê-ohtiskawapîstâkocik.

Naomi is a peacemaker by nature, and in her next life she believes she will be a tamarack tree or a small mountain lake.

* The Cree words immediately follow their English translations except for:

Ceremonial tobacco made from the bark and green leaves of the red osier dogwood bush.

ê-wîci-pîhtwâmitocik nâpêwak êkwa iskwêwak ê-ohtiskawapîstâkocik
The men smoke the pipe and the women sit facing the men.