Jade Riordan – Three Poems

This Still Life Cubed

I don’t want anything

My back melts into canvas melts
into wall sharpens. A Blue Period

rains in through the window and
paint runs into my hair. Rain pours
in and I run out to the front yard.

The kitchen follows then continues
out onto the street; bread knives slice
the city into hills and valleys and hills and

the people sharpen into Picassos.

The Great Lake leaks Blue Nude
into a valley

and I, canvas back pressed
against the wall, melt back
into a Child
with a Dove


*Child with a Dove (1901) and Blue Nude (1902) are paintings by Pablo Picasso.

The Inside of a Blister

The inside of a blister: eggplant sky
and ivy holding the buildings
together. We’d be the new skin
of a hug in motion, the second
of standstill in a waltz: measure

1 2 3

Aubergine undertones and climbing
toward the clouds. No weakness
in a handshake, a hug, holding tight.
Nor in the release: breathe out.
We rise like vapour, evaporate
as morning mist, as angels
returning to the atmosphere.

Fifth Season

I want to be both the ode
and the dismemberment:
the fifth season
that we forgot to name,
the air in the billows of curtains,
but not the breath
that surrounds them.

I will be a multitude:
every tree
circling the clearing,
every forest 
singing bark onto the moon,
every solitude 
weaving grain into a sunrise.

I am searching for the root,
the cavity:
something that replicates
the exact shape a name makes
upon the tongue.
The angle at which lives intersect.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

rays of sun wrap the
horizon in orange ribbon—
gifting us the day


Jade Riordan is from northern Canada; she’s currently attending university further south. Her poetry has appeared in The Fib Review, Half Mystic Journal, Maudlin House, NōD, and elsewhere. She is a member of Bywords’ selection committee.