Jeff Latosik + Amber McMillan

poetry //

by Jeff Latosik

I‘ve seen them stacked upright in dozens 
in a neighbour’s yard fastened to nothing
but dumb luck and physics, and opening  
only to themselves like Matryoshka dolls.

Things like this, shucked from their functions,
shrink towards the pinhole view 
and you feel as though you’re looking
through a telescope comically reversed. 

In Kingston Penn, Ty Conn could find a door
in anything. Walk in and you’d find him
assembling a grappling hook from scratch,
cinching a ladder with epoxy and tape

 and even nabbing cayenne pepper for the dogs. 
He put a door in the wall. He’d been passed 
around again and again, little ward of the crown. 
And learned in things an opening flaps.

And learned, in a dive basement on Alberta,
sometimes freedom’s just another way of coming back. 
An hour on the route he would have took
and combines, stalled, don’t seem to have doors,

and collapsed barns with their dark embouchures.
We let news in like a terrible light. Those contracts
that sustain us now seem jettisoned, if for a spec,
but it’s really just another Plan B hardening…

When a tarp flies off a pickup truck like a piano
fully come to life and stays there in its trillion cords
pinned not the eye, or itself, but the mind’s 
wild, encumbered flight. There is no way. But find one.


by Amber McMillan

The day you were born, the recession was a real thing, 
was really happening, even though Moscow and Istanbul 
were seeing significant real estate booms. A pair of bombings 
killed 15 in Pakistan, and Spain tilted a little to the middle.

Attorney General Spitzer, a polarizing and crusading man, 
was running a prostitution ring in the Midwest, while Israel began 
its ceasefire talks and Fat Joe the rapper had admitted to tax fraud.
This was the day Barack Obama abandoned Hillary Clinton 

and ran for leader of the democratic party – soon to be the first 
black president in history – publicly announcing, I don’t know 
how somebody who is in second place offers the vice presidency 
to the person who’s in first place. And late in the day, the scientific 

community announced that non-human primates conveyed 
meaning through call combinations, or morphemes, which are 
linguistically defined as the smallest meaningful units in language;
for instance, a prefix such as “pre-” or a word such as “I.”