The Shape of Yearning

Brazilian flamingoes, 2016 (c) Gina Roitman


Brazilian flamingoes, 2016 (c) Gina Roitman


Call of the Loon

Come back.
It’s cold here without you.
When I bend my neck to drink
there is no reflection in the water.

Come back to the wild.
When I call your name
it ricochets off trees,
slips down the bank,
squats mute as stone on the lily pad where
a bullfrog once left a faint depression.

Come back.
I long to be near you.
I tilt my bill to drink the stars,
sorrow throbbing in my throat,
my back bare as the hollow in the bed
beside me.


After the pink

the lip curls
a seashell’s salutation
so pale, so pink
a smile
the promise of shelter
the entrée to the cave
where secrets are stowed
warm whispers
soft and wet.
and after the pink
the abyss


This is so difficult to put into words

This is so difficult to put into words
believe me, I’ve tried
I’ve come to the table with the best of intentions
only to find my words dribbling out
deflated as a beach ball with a slow leak
a brown pelican with fishing filament wrapped around her beak.
Slow starvation.

I am hungry for words to explain
why the world echoes like a hollow shell
why there is no hope of finding
treasure beneath the wet sand.

I come empty-handed although I have always believed
I bring something to leave behind.
Now, it’s a hunger
for putting it into words.


Lost Gate, 2018 (c) Gina Roitman



Montréal writer, one-time film producer and ex-penguin herder, Gina Roitman is the author of a book of short stories: Tell Me Story, Tell Me the Truth, and a biography co-authored with Gary Bromberg: Midway to China and Beyond. Her essays and short stories have aired on CBC Radio and appeared in anthologies including most recently The New Spice Box and Wherever I Find Myself.  Gina’s poetry has been published in carte blanche, Quills Poetry magazine and numerous anthologies. In collaboration with Producer-Director Jane Hawtin, Gina co-wrote and was the subject of the award-winning documentary film, My Mother, the Nazi Midwife and Me that aired on CBC’s Documentary channel from 2014-16. Her first novel, Don’t Ask, newly-completed, is currently looking for a home. As for the penguin herding, that’s another story.