My quiet daughter saves pebbles.
She lines them up like merit badges
on her desk.
These treasures are as closed as she is,
the perfect collector’s item.
Sometimes she arranges them
in a circle around her
like a fortress to keep out fate.
Sometimes they lie clumped by her pillow
imposing peace on restless dreams.
She knows their hard silence by heart
and measures herself by rock strength.
These stones also serve as calling cards.
They are opening remarks
and a foot in the door.
Silently she offers them for viewing
and makes herself known.
They keep her life ajar.
* * *
Heather Cadsby is the author of four books of poetry. A Tantrum of Synonyms (Wolsak and Wynn) was a finalist for the Pat Lowther Award. Recently her poetry has appeared in The New Quarterly, The Malahat Review, PRISM international and the anthology, Best Canadian Poetry in English, 2008 (Tightrope Books). Her fourth book is Could be (Brick Books, 2009).