In our Fall 2018 round of Poetry Moves on Transit, we received an astounding 178 poetry submissions! Our jury had a difficult time choosing our favourite poems, but in the end, we chose the following four poems as winners. We also decided to publish the Top 20 poems here, on our website. Congratulations to the four winners (Nermeen Youssef, Daniel Poitras, Melody “Moldy” Williamson, and Beth LaRocque), as well as the rest of the top 20!

Fall 2018 Poetry Moves on Transit Winners

by Nermeen Youssef

I hope I don’t look strange holding my bag of fresh eggplants.
Close and tight.
It only took one winter, one spring and seven new bus routes –
but I found them.
The ones where the smell of my mother’s kitchen lives on –
greeting me from beyond the ocean.
I hope I don’t look strange holding my bag of fresh eggplants,
smiling wide to myself holding it closer
In the city that I will soon call home
it’s the closest to my mother’s hug –
This prized bag of betengaan.

Nermeen Youssef is a multilingual poet documenting life through the lens of an expatriate scientist.


I speak softly
by Daniel Poitras

Because my raised voice
Sounds like a thousand drunk Indians
Circling the wagon

I work diligently
Because my failures
Will paint all our faces
As lazy and unreliable

I am a Native man
And I try everyday not to remind you of it.

Daniel Poitras is a halfbreed poet from the Paul’s First Nation.


Fall Short
by Melody “Moldy” Williamson

In September, you cut all your hair off.
An eager winter breeze meets your neck
for the first time, and you shiver.
The people who remember when
it fell almost to your waist
comment: it’s so short. And it is.
You hunch your shoulders and wish them broader —
yet, when you look in the mirror
you do not see a girl with short hair.
Staring back, what you see is yours at last.

Moldy is a 24-year-old queer poet, traveller, and young professional from Edmonton.


the complexities of solidarity
by Beth LaRocque

some days I shut out happiness like it’s an
unfaithful thing

other days I avoid the news like it’s an illness
I can’t afford to catch right now

on these days I am selfish
pouring only hot water into the tub
and huddling towards the front
like its
a deep breath

Beth LaRocque is a 23-year-old student who enjoys writing and exploring Mill Creek Ravine with her dog, Jessy.

Fall 2018 Poetry Moves on Transit Runners Up

There Is the Hush
by Julie Robinson

the river throat-sings
grey and rose poems
        	to elk under pines
and stars trail bright crumbs
back to shore
        	where we belong and they belong
with trees bent to beauty in wild wind—
we, too, know wild wind—
        	lie down, look inward


Becoming A Woman
by Kim Mannix

I was taught
it was to bleed
or be bedded
or do battle.
Now I teach
my daughters
that it means
to begin.


There were Crows
by Katherine Koller

Crows watch the weather: beaks pointed all the same,
black parasols in a tall dead tree,
spaced, exposed, poised for an onslaught.
No calls from these bleak birds,
only intermittent chatter of the lesser kind.
Crows wait until, in utter unison,
they unfurl umbrella wings to delinquent skies,
screeching in dread delight
at the drenching, glistening release of rain.


evening talks
by Maria Barbu

this decadent light the weight of oceans
limbers his tongue to truths rarely spoken
emerging woolly
yet delicate
sitting on perches
among darkened
and forgotten
glowing, glowing…


Six of poems
by Patti Sinclair

I cut the cards
the top one, an image of a boy
standing beside a pyramid
made from six coins
he cups the highest orb
imprinted with an owl
holds it out in offering
without attachment, he gives freely
this is how I want
        	to write poems


by Nermeen Youssef

They say, in a snowstorm there are two ways to react to
how our bus glides along this voluptuous road:
You can be scared or you can be scared.
But why should I be scared when the promise of
the valley, loyally hiding behind the next curve	awaits
Where majesty reveals itself to those who care 	to look up
Where through curtains of snow or sun rays  	the horses stand tall.
Behind the next curve my eyes will widen
At the gentleness of the strong.      At grace.
At the promise that I too 	will learn.


Train lines
by Kelly Shepherd

The purpose of art is transparency.
The woman at the station speaks loudly,
laughing, into her phone.

Too much art, and a pigeon will break its neck.
No one recognizes her language.
The woman’s speech is pure music.

The railroad tracks go past the edge of the city.
The coyote tracks on the frozen North Saskatchewan
have nothing to do with vinyl siding.


The Summer of Two Jobs
by Melody “Moldy” Williamson

The sand in my work shoes today
found its way there after a double shift last night.
Closing the second store at nine-thirty —
business is stagnant, and
I can taste the slow dissolve of brick and mortar.
For now,
they still need people to put things on the shelves.
Keeping step with my coworkers into the night,
we find a playground and swing.
Washed in the light of street lamps, we live again.


by Kat Cameron

Two dust-dry boomtowns.

Tyrannosaurus. Brontosaurus. Albertosaurus.

Two frontier cowboys trying to piss
on the biggest territory.

Long-legged construction cranes stalking
prairie horizons.


by Joanna Simon

I have been called broken and damaged by women who
have been able to fly in an open blue sky.
However, our women have been caught, and clipped of their wings and thrown in cages.
And they made headdresses out of our feathers and called it reconciliation.
Despite this we taught ourselves to fly again, flying way higher than they ever imagined.
We are not broken or damaged rather we learn to redesign ourselves to fit in a world that didn’t want us.


This land was a gift
by Joanna Simon

It does not belong to me,
Nor does it belong to you,
We were created to be the keepers of the land
But, look how we treat it.
Always taking something from her and never giving it back
Disobedient children, testing mother’s limits to see how she’ll react.
When was the last time you heard your mothers voice,
as she softly called your name and wrote your name in the clouds?


by Anna Mioduchowska

A small red bug floats in a rain barrel.
I lean down to study the wing markings,
the trim waist, and wish I knew enough
to classify it.

I also wish my curiosity was rooted
in compassion, the need to acknowledge
a fellow creature, to mourn
its untimely passing.


by Ania Lyda Ossowska

Hey! Since you’re sitting there
(on your way to get somewhere)
I challenge you to define the essence
Of your surroundings: the human presence.
This question, based in epistemology
Extends beyond mere physiology
What makes me me, and you you
Is deeper than the things we do
How I look, what you’re seeing
Is but a fraction of my being.


On Treaty Six
by Luciana Erregue

We kiss
We touch
We touch
We touch like trees
We enter our shadows
We kiss our wounds
We kiss our wounds
We kiss our wounds
We leave our joy. Here.


Familiar Strangers
by Ashvaria Rai

Simultaneous steps;
“Would you like to sit?” – “No, no, go ahead!”;
An abrupt, screeching halt – the unanimous lurch;
Synchronized heads look out the windows and at the River;
A collective groan at the delay;
Foreign conversations roam the halls –
A hidden smile as a familiar accent drifts past …
You may be travelling alone, but
There is unity in these rides.


Being Unboxed
by Lisa Mulrooney

Children watch videos of toys being unboxed,
their muscles wound tight by the anticipation
of wrappers being peeled away. The same
wrappers that become toys, off-screen.

It makes you wonder about the outside
of things, of people, occupations
and preoccupations. All the wrappings,
trappings we can’t wait to remove,
but love to play with, even as adults.