"Genni Gunn's Mating in Captivity is a long self-documentary poetic cycle comprised largely of prose poems, with occasional poems in verse. Realism and surrealism alternate as the speaker confesses to the distances she has created between herself and others, and between her conscious life and her inner self..."
- Canadian Literature, Spring 1996
"’Variations of Silence’ works especially well, with its combination of sharp images, sensual detail and emotion . . . Unified metaphor transforms this dense work into something resonant..."
-UBC Chronicle, Spring 1994
© Genni Gunn, 1994
Reprinted by permission. All Rights Reserved
There are moments you lie still
in the first stir of robins,
the chinking of a home,
dried grass and pine cones.
In your head, a clawing for order, husbands
lovers on microfilm, the alphabetical rendering
of your selves, parchment
peeled off the bark of an ash tree.
You've spread yourself so thin,
a few words here and there men never heard,
nor listened to; the flutter of wings
against a windowpane, sucked-in breath
and a door left unlocked.
You've always stood in the palm of thunder
in the wavering breath of lightning
splitting open a heart.
He comes to you in dreams, silent
as a pillow muffling the throat, intoxicating
as the scent of fireweed and bodies in August.
There are too many layers;
you choose the easy way -- a deaf-mute.
You need only close your eyes to his echoes.