"Daintier, Terribler"

Ben Gallagher

Ben Gallagher is a poet and essayist currently living between Toronto, ON, and Lunenburg, NS. He is in the middle of a PhD at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, researching non-linear pedagogy and poetic practices in community poetry workshops. He recently became a father and spends large portions of his day happily stacking blocks and picking up cereal from under the high chair. Recent work can be found in untethered, Sewer Lid, The Puritan, (parenthetical), and Arc, among other places.

“‘Daintier, Terribler’ takes its title and its starting point from Emily Dickinson’s poem F242, which is a reflection on secret pain. I was thinking about the death of my partner and the hidden pain of her now unmarked birth date — as well as the way in which my own life impulses continue regardless of my thoughts about them.”

     One thrown snowball away
     from a torn rotator cuff
     and so the world goes

     Today you were born, once

                 I reflect on death
     and how nothing really changes

     still hoping for love
     the plans, affirmed, and family
     only there’s a thorn
                                 which is you

     which is me, heavy
     and the moon crescent
     faint glow

                 the soul at play

     even when I don’t
     feel like playing