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By Louise Dupré


The Montréal Review, October 2017


Louise Dupré
Guernica Editions
, 2017


it happens she leans into the window as if to feel her own absence.

she leans in with obstinate slowness, topples, and behold the

pane shatters yes shatters


it’s then her gaze takes on a definitive air


shatter topple all of the motifs as long as she asks herself what

defines her whether risk or voice the waiting inevitably provokes

reflection risk and expectancy the city blurred across

her skin


it might have begun with a phrase, one of those phrases that

obstinately breaks loose from a reading, the words perfectly

aligned, that phrase it’s then her gaze takes on a definitive air,

while the character — a poet — observed the passersby on the

grey surface through a window. she had wanted to know that

phrase and had leaned into it.


the glass is smooth, the horizon and she places her hand on it

(there are gestures without importance), the glass is smooth

and cold. to glue your lips to it. that vapour all of a sudden, that

vapour which draws the contours of your mouth, blurs the

angle of vision. that’s when she imagines it: the glass shatters

and she topples. it’s then the surfaces take on an entirely different



vertical vertical void to the rhythm of the voice disperses its

dizzy movement and dizzy in the axis of the ultimate gaze can

it be that a warm voice simulates a toppling decor right up to

the fuzz between the legs the fuzzy and so soft


she holds herself upright as if suspended in the void to measure

its illusions


she had read late at the window without expecting anything

she had read this sentence without a thought other than taking

a risk. to pronounce it out loud like the poet and to lean in.


she hears the distant rumour grey and distant the moment

she starts to slip gently could it be her memory returns as she

falls smooth and intact could it be she’s becoming wingèd


she hears her voice shatter. she spreads her legs and seeks the

soft so smooth while desperately traversing the wait and alone

as if possessed by her gesture without importance, she sees herself

glide a small point amid the passersby soft and unharmed


a woman — poet — had leaned against the window. her gaze

had taken on a definitive air, as if having written suspended

in the void had blurred the stakes of the words. it’s then the

figure had found itself intact in her memory.


Montreal writer Louise Dupré has received numerous prizes, including the 2011 Governor General’s award for her poetry collection Plus haut que les flames. Karen Ocaña’s translations of essays have appeared in various publications. This is her first book-length translation.


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