Three Poems by Jill M. Talbot

Jill M. Talbot

Saturday Night Palsy


I am not sure about this case. But that is not what I meant to say.
What I meant was that my fingers disagree—my right hand—
left brain has control since I have Saturday Night Palsy

where your hand just gives up on life—an existential crisis—
and no matter what it won’t face life.

AKA : Wrist Drop, Honeymoon Palsy—depending on which

hand you ask or if you can remember if somebody else
slept on your radial nerve or if you did.

This is why nobody has heard from my left hand—right brain.


I just felt his hands around my neck, all around my neck.


In a chair or in a bed, the doctor asked three times because
I kept avoiding the question—it seemed obscene.

Besides it left out: floor, desk, bathtub, forest…


Ghomeshi stared at the witness with a nose that grew
two sizes too big.

Who slept on his nerve?


I am a bad feminist because when I hear of Jian Ghomeshi
I think of Honeymoon Palsy and because my left hand—right
brain is the one who has a problem with it and has grown silent
because somebody slept on it.


Bed or chair? : the doctor.

What were you thinking? : the prosecutor.


I love your hands.


It was an omission.



So that is a lie.



I can explain all these messages in this case—
all digital debris—in two words:

Wrist Drop.

Exit Sex Trade

When I see teenagers on television
I want to put them in burqas
until they’re 25. And I know
how wrong this is—
I want it all the same.

I want to hide from men
in their 40s cruising around
looking for the youngest
until I remember that’s
no longer me, and I want to hide
even more. I want to tell them

it’s not worth it—these girls
on television. But then I realize
not all girls on TV are me
and most don’t need burqas.
So I find one that is me,
standing beside a no-exit
sign. She points to it.
I fall to my knees.

And all the TV characters
would form an army
wearing bikinis
and I would let them.


I taste dirt. It’s in my hands and my hair. It’s in my shoes. I’m lying on the ground and can see people walking past with concern, disgust or disinterest. I’m not sure. A cloud of dust gets into my eyes as someone passes. Happy birthday to me.

My jeans are torn. I see an owl in the distance, swooping in, scaring everybody away. The owl comes closer, scooping up the knife beside me. I wake up in the ICU.

Where is the owl? I ask.

They peer down, as if they realize this makes them seem more powerful, more god-like. I feel like a penny.

Where is the owl?

They make notes. They do not speak.

My knife is gone. My owl is gone. I still taste dirt. They don’t get me water.

Blood rushes into the IV, moving in reverse. Their white coats are ironed crisp as a paper crane. Their stethoscopes are weapons.

I wake up on a floor. I taste rock not dirt. And not that kind of rock. I’m wearing a man’s shirt, not a gown. He has my arm. Glasses slide down his nose. He has my rock. I have his heart. I cough up blood. It goes backwards. I ask for a knife. He asks for a kiss. The owl comes back.

I am 15 again. We are watching America’s Next Top Model drinking Sour Puss. The girl who got it calls it Sour Pussy.

There is dirt under my fingernails. I bite them. No one has ironed anything.

Jill M. Talbot attended Simon Fraser University for psychology before pursing her passion for writing. Jill has appeared in GeistRattlePoetry Is DeadThe PuritanMatrixsubTerrain, and The Tishman Review. Jill was shortlisted for the Matrix Lit POP Award for fiction and the Malahat Far Horizons Award for poetry. Jill lives on Gabriola Island, BC.

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