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In equal balance justly weighed

Slouching toward Democracy

Where have all the wise men gone?

By Populist Demand

When urban and rural voters went separate ways


She never came.

They left us grief-trees

wailing at the wall.

And that was all.


“Death by poisoning,” by Dorothy



She left us waiting

for the rabbit

in the hat but all

we got was how

long do you stare

at a black top hat

waiting for a white rabbit

to hop out? She was like

a mother for seven years.

She never came


back to our tearing calls.

How could she? The blood

that ran through us didn’t

match, so we couldn’t

signal her homing.

They say she flew

across the pond

because our Dad wasn’t

nice. The neighbours,

they left us grief trees


in their stances and stark

glances. We saw pity

seed their eyes. Tempting

to rip out

or better yet, tap

it like sap. Poor little

orphans. We aren’t

orphans. We have a father.

Our real mother just doesn’t

live with us, wailing at the wall


is one of the many things

she does in foreign countries.

We’ve got postcards and pictures

so we know where she is.

She’s not one for hats

or rabbits (things we can no longer

look at). Magic isn’t a trick,

it’s the return

of what you want, we know that now

and that was all.

Catherine Graham teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto. This poem appears in Put Flowers around Us and Pretend We’re Dead: New and Selected Poems, her latest collection, published by Wolsak and Wynn.