September 16, 2016

When I discovered prose poems, I was enamored with the idea of poetry meeting fiction. I attended a week writing retreat in Manitoba in which Lorna Crozier, Canadian poet extrordinaire, was one of the mentors. She mentioned that one of the prose poems she wrote was a novel even though it was no more than a big block paragraph in length.

I felt like I was entering inside of the prose poem when I wrote one.

The following unpublished prose poem was composed in the 1980s and is about one of my many unique qualities. It is about the chapped hands I always had as a child when other children’s are usually soft and smooth. Today, my hands are soft but while most people think I look young for my age, my hands are very wrinkled and elderly.

Here it is:


by Tanya Lester

When I was a child I had rough hands. Dirt caked in between the scales. When Mom rubbed them with a soapy wash cloth, they bled like a fish being filleted by a hand holding a sharp knife. The scales got itchy sometimes late at night. They would wake me in my waterbed. I would scratch and scratch and scratch but I liked my scaly hands. They were all I had left from the days I swam in the sea, rocked in my salt water womb. The Mediterranean in those days was a pure and simple undulating body of water. Fish were multi-striped or checkered. Whales spun fine tales. From the shore, I heard volcanoes erupting passionately for days, weeks and months on end. Octopus embraced me. I drank salt water. It nourished me. I sucked it up greedily. Aaah. There were days I surfaced and did nothing but flap my tail against the huge, round grey rocks. Did flipflops on the oozing green seaweed. Sang to the whales, swam with the sharks. Crabs and lobsters would clamp onto my tail; freeloaders, hitching a ride. Dophins led me to my sister’s house. Her name was Aphrodite. A woman with thirty-two milk filled nipples on her chest, she nurtured the land children. The water held spirals, ripples and dimples of colour: blue, green, aqua, gold, sparkling silver, sometimes black as midnight without the stars or grey as the clay bottom. Or as my hands. When I was a child they were chapped grey.


Tanya can be contacted through her web site:  or  her pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google. Her email is and her cell phone number is 250-538-0086.

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