on tombstones


i dreamt my family was crushed in a sedan
and i felt left out. i could probably
be okay with death, since it’s a place 
where you never have to dust the cabinets
or re-pot the plants, or talk about your 
feelings, or wake up too late and too hung
over on a day when you were supposed to 
do the grocery shopping, and the laundry,
and it’s a place where you never have to 
miss anyone (even though hopefully some
one would end up missing you). “here
lies avonlea. she always meant to finish
that MA but just never got around to it”.
jesslyn will make a slideshow for my
funeral filled with photos of that august we
spent smoking cigarettes on her balcony
and we could hear kids playing in the street 
and smell the summer and the rain, and it
was such a perfect year even though i spent
so many days sitting on the couch doing
nothing, because the idea of doing some
thing was too petrifying, so i could have 
learned a language or an instrument but 
all that happened was the cabinets got 
dusty again. kyle’s tombstone will read 
“here lies kyle, never worked too hard” 
and that makes me wonder if my old 
MA professors would attend my funeral,
or what the difference is between death
and sitting on a couch doing nothing.


Avonlea Fotheringham is an Ottawa poet, publisher, and a former co-editor of In/Words Magazine and Press. She competed with Capital Slam to place in semi-finals at the 2014 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, and has performed in Ottawa, Toronto, Guelph, and Victoria. Her work has been published by (parenthetical)The Steel ChiselOttawater, phafours press and others. In 2015, she joined Verse Ottawa as Festival Administrator, and founded her poetry micrcopress, Hussy.