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From the archives

The Trust Spiral

Restoring faith in the media

Who’s Afraid of Alice Munro?

A long-awaited biography gives the facts, but not the mystery, behind this writer’s genius

Whatever the Cost May Be

Preparing for the fight of our life


When I see you slump, defeated in your chair,

should I disturb you? Or should I leave you there

in your cave, in your brain, your truck, lake, lair,


dive, booth, toilet seat, bar stool, bench, deep freeze-

equivalent of slumping in your chair

as if undressed, in your pajamas, unaware?


Though groomed, you look tousled. You’re three.

Something’s frayed, delayed, broken—and you’ve gone back there,

through wadis, through arroyos, where the glare


of an absorbing sun sucks the moist air into a wheeze.

You breathe a shallow breath, defeated in your chair.

Snug hood of fear. You’ll never shout or dare


to have a bold idea or simply stretch in ease

or find someone worth beguiling while you’re lost in there.

But that’s my fear to conquer. Till you repair,


I must not leap. Not call, cajole, mock or appease

when you slump, defeated, even in a straight-back chair,

a dentist’s chair, a desk chair, club chair, a theatre seat.


Don’t we all deserve a good slump, even so deep

it unnerves your loving witness who cannot please

you, her temp-god, constructed of the air


she thinks she needs to breathe, but doesn’t need? To care

means simply to breathe one’s own air. To wait

and not to cheat you of your curvature.

Agreed. I’ll leave you there.

Molly Peacock’s newest fiction is Alphabetique: 26 Characteristic Fictions (2014), illustrations by Kara Kosaka; her latest poetry is The Second Blush (2008) and her recent nonfiction is The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72 (2010), all from McClelland and Stewart. She is the series editor of annual The Best Canadian Poetry (Tightrope Books).