Poetry Moves on Transit is only one humble expression of the richness of human expression that resides here in Edmonton. This round, we received 135 poems from 73 people. That means 135 separate instances of people permitting themselves the vulnerability to share, very often on beautiful and poignant terms, their lived experiences as people living with us, here, at this time.

Although only four of the submissions get to ride on transit, let us not forget the wonderful courage and eloquence of all the poets who submitted, as well as those doing the good and necessary work at other venues in the city. Truth be told, we were humbled and honoured to read every single one of your submissions.

In addition to publishing the winning four poems, we would like to publish and congratulate everyone who made our shortlist. Way to go!

Poetry Moves on Transit Fall 2019 Winners

by Lea Storry

In the sea of Edmonton vehicles – cars, trucks and SUVs,
swims a leviathan.
A ravenous hollow beast
swallowing people from the concrete shoreline
and if they’re distasteful, spitting them out
several metres down the grey bank.
While gliding along the waves of traffic, the behemoth hums.
It hisses as it stops, settling to fill its belly.
But it’s never still for long. It moves on
constantly searching the paved ocean for fare.


by Darian Rose Selander

She slides the Shepherd’s pie into the oven
And we sit in the quiet and wait
I make a note; that oven mitt needs a wash.
Outside, opinions about our love exist
and so we don’t always hold hands
and my coworkers don’t know
and sometimes it’s not safe.
But in our home, in this home
That smells like gravy and carrots
We quietly, powerfully, love each other.


The Last Word
by Jo-Ann Godfrey

My dad in all his change of failing health,
Alzheimer’s, stomach problems, mobility
and wakefulness difficulties, impaired speech,
sometimes silence, he sat in his favorite chair
on the deck and pointed, a weak and worn out
finger, to a gorgeous, blue, summer sky,
a backdrop to the spruce tree and a squirrel
playfully leaping from branch to branch.

“Perfect,” he managed to say.


by Zach Polis

If it’s hoarding behaviour,
I don’t care.
I keep confetti
from every party I’ve been to
in a cardboard box
labeled “Yes!”
l want to remember who I was
and what I stood for.

Poetry Moves on Transit Fall 2019 Shortlist

by Joanna Simon

I see you
Your skin is soft,
unapologetically dipped in the sweet morning sun.
My love you glow so daringly.
Knowing how fragile we can be
with a strong spine and a burning core
let me be your home.


The Seventh
by Sarah-Jean Krahn

Iyinisiwin of twister, your ancestor,
Funnels blood as thick as pine gum underground
To effervesce the prism still unborn.
As the scarce declare emergency, you
The youth emerge—and howl!
Skolstrejk för Klimatet! collides with clouds to hurl
Inferno! Can your 2.7 million storm
The awkward sidewalk coughs
Hail cacophony of honks to hear
Their thunderous desertion?


Winter Winds
by Ramsay Hobson

Freezing winds hush restless wolves. Oak bark cracks sturdy heartwood. Snow muffles the cries of predator chasing prey. I am motionless, silent frost tipped beauty. I am numbed, the silhouetted voice of trees. I am a body surrounded by snow. My lips remain alive, red from cold sweetly brushing. I will become a part of where I lie. Winter preserves beauty, winter is kind.


One AM
by Natalie Chepel

Amid the vacuum of an empty parking lot
Filled with soft shadows by the white stars’ even glow
Where frozen air hangs still, like mid-air moths
And the damp asphalt shudders with untaken breaths
I stand, and watch the distant cars
Trudging past yellow street signs, making their way home
Through the spilled-ink blackness of the night
Cold fingers caress pocket lining
And I shiver in my thin fall coat
To feel the warmth inside


Winter’s Song
by Patrick Mears

Listen to winter’s crystalline orchestra,
To chittering chickadees on silver pine branches,
To children laughing in diamond-studded hoar frost,
To airplanes roaring into a seam of brilliant white,
To the timeless echo of an axe chopping wood.
Stand still,
and listen to the majestic silence after snowfall.
To icy water tumbling into gurgling drains,
To drops trickling from giant icicles
like sweet violins announcing a new beginning.


Chuckling Of The Raven
by Eric Stormer

the chuckling of the raven
well-hidden in the woods
makes me wonder
what he’s laughing at
this absurd world
me and my dog
or is it some secret joke
only his bird brain understands?


What’s a savings account?
by Tyler Hein

I plan to max my credit cards, then
pay them off with other credit cards:
an eternal race pitting interest rates
against my own mortality. I find it strange
how most adults are a single disaster
away from ruin. One prolonged misfortune,
like a child playing Tetris in television static
stacking and rearranging the tetrominos,
wanting to be graced by the missing piece,
waiting for the past to vanish in a cascade.


Spinning teacup ride
by Myrna Garanis

Yours is the garden variety dream, riding inside a giant
teacup, Mad Hatter your close friend and confidante.
Spending a week swirling centrifugally on a six-foot saucer
invented by Walt Disney who sorely missed his childhood.
Shaken and dizzy after porcelain prison, you line up again,
buckle yourself back in just because you can.


Collect more alive with you
by Mark A. McCutcheon

Together in our high red bed we create names,
precise as those for paint colours,
for the fake flame and log designs of electric
fireplaces: Tacoma Sunrise, Embers
and Rattlers, Smores on the Inca Trail.
Do monsters’ memories talk to you? It’s
amazing today what monsters aren’t
monsters anymore, in the Anthropocene.
I collect more alive with you, my anodyne: let’s
race office chairs over the coal-glowing road.


If You know Apples ii.
by Marilyn Gear Pilling

If you know apples, you know it was
October when the snake spoke
the leaves burning primary red
maple scenting each breath
exile and sin unconceived, it was
October, and Eve only wanted
plump mystery in her palm
crisp spray on her palate
the star in white flesh
she only wanted to eat apples.


Leaves Listen
by Katherine Koller

Leaves listen
		like words
imprint light
	offer sound
		until they fall
they remember


by Darian Rose Selander

Yesterday you were so much younger
You’re trying to teach your lawn to be a prairie
Reinvigorate the natural chaos
It’s been a good time for chaos
You’re the colour of the sky today and wet jeans
You’re high on your own sorrow
And looking for a fight
Running on black coffee and
The kindness of strangers
Good quality fuel


by Lucas Warren

When curators are ready
and it makes fiscal sense
to finally dig this grey place up
I hope they find us
inside each other
the weight of city
on our well worn bodies.


by Raye Mitchell

You take the bus
snq ɹnoʎ ɹǝʇɟɐ ɹoop ǝɥʇ ʇno ǝlqɯɐɹɔs noʎ ƃuᴉuɹoɯ ʎɹǝʌƎ
A girl awkwardly smiles as she boards, you look away
ʎɐʍɐ ʞool noʎ os ǝɔɐld ɹǝɥ uᴉ uǝǝq ǝʌ,noʎ
You want to say hi, but it’s weird
pɹᴉǝʍ s,ʇᴉ ʞuᴉɥʇ ʇnq ᴉɥ ʎɐs oʇ ʇuɐʍ noʎ
She says good morning which sparks conversation
spuǝᴉɹɟ ǝɯɐɔǝq oʍʇ noʎ puɐ uoᴉʇɐsɹǝʌuoɔ ǝɥʇ pǝʇɹɐʇs ǝɥS
Each morning you talk and talk, it’s a nice feeling
ɹǝᴉlɹɐǝ ƃuᴉɥʇǝɯos ʎɐs ʇ,upᴉp noʎ ʎɥʍ ɹǝpuoʍ no⅄