Still Life

                Inspired by a photograph of a Roadside Stand in Villa Hermosa

                                                                                   by Xill Fessenden


Look       no-one stirs the bright blue pot

    simmering on the iron fire box        or tends

the ears of  roasted corn that sweetly brown

         on the charcoal brazier


                       their green leaves litter the pavement.

     No-one gathers the huge sheaf of scarlet gladioli

          that embraces a corner of the adobe wall. 

See           on a chair a basket of apples tilts


              forward and beside the open door

in the thick hot silence           two bottles of milk           wait.

       Sun curls round the scene         it vibrates with life

though none is present.            The weight of absence


                                                       hangs in the air

  it touches the pot          ruffles the petals

scatters the leaves.                 We go through life tracking

         absences.         As crucial as a poem’s white spaces


                     we respond to them       like the pause

                                     between breath in          breath out

                that split second             necessary to live

                                 when we do not breathe.


Margaret Malloch ZielinskiRaised in Scotland, Margaret Malloch Zielinski now lives in Ottawa.  Her work has been published in various anthologies and literary journals including A Crystal through which Love Passes, Soundings ( both Buschek Books), Untying the Apron (Guernica),  Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual, 2014 (UK), The Antigonish Review, Bywords, Contemporary Verse 2, the Dalhousie Review, Geist, The Montreal International Poetry Prize Long List  2011, Quills, and Room. Together with five other poets she published, Whistle for Jellyfish. (Bookland Press, Toronto)