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from Issue Number 8, Fall 2017 - Winter 2018

Sonnets on the Dole
by U. S. Dhuga


Do you, too, notice the vogue for words like
compassion, empathy, and mindfulness
whirling round? Whatever do they mean? Yes,
we mindfully hand-signal on our bikes,
but there’s always that wayward white Lexus—
surely, from suburbia—that might kill us.
Do you see the riots from the turnpikes
when you speak of how you drive “defensively”?
Do you see that this CUPE strike
is not designed against your lily-
white fenced-off “open concept” houses?
The sound attenuation drives you, like,
so, like, mad. So do you future tenses.
Take this roundabout. Its ingress egresses.


Take the abject thrill of being gone,
the objects missing: take, now, this sock found
at the launderette, uncoupled. Take the round-
about round which the lawn
so finely manicured reminds
you (incongruously?) to clip your toenails.
The TTC streetcar-track-worker grinds
a crowbar into heat-warning-jammed rails.
The 504 streetcar strands you,
now. Taxi? Incorrigibly broke,
you will walk the last two-
point-six miles and—soaked
to the brain—arrive at work late
precisely as the rain abates.


When the cold does not abate
I tend to contemplate
something even remotely
resembling a roof over my head.
It can’t, it mustn’t, be a costly
place. Just a bed
will suffice.
When the cold does not abate
I tend to contemplate Leamas and spies
who came in from the cold.
This shelter’s curfew isn’t late
enough. I’ve work to work. My eyes
hurt: icicle eyelashes. Am I just old?
Or is World just becoming a child?

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