Night Skating | Julia DaSilva

'Night Skating' is a poem by Toronto-based poet, Julia DaSilva about coming to understand what at first is a very isolating pain as a collective experience with a collective history of resistance.

Photo by Daniel Welsh on Unsplash

You try jumps: two legs,

one, instinctive, easy to name,

noun plus trix. There is room, here,

in the wide icy nighttime stretches between

couples on winter dates to remember

to swing your arms, use your body,

to fall. To fill every frozen canal dug

inside and through and to you and to imagine

teaching someone who told you she’d never learned

how to skate them.

Like this, you would say, and through you

the liberatrix speaks:

oh I gobbled this year like

church bells, the candy world feel

of upward torn constraints

we all another wrapper

convention the word “psychedelic."

As the pair glides past their blades slice

red-cheeked mittened laughing

through the clumsy curves of your trail. You wonder

if they are a couple or just

friends, you are iced again with hope,

and the progenitrix:

not only the history

but also the history

one part high tragedy.

You hit a knob of ice, crash, wonder

how many more falls your knees can take,

perfecting this this one figure.

Whispers the sequestratrix:

or a training school

cut adrift

explore creative derangement

in a dusty rental—of course it is

that shop left us stranded closed

our friend skateless.

It’s a short hobble to the top

of the bridge where you pine with

overtones of immorality. You unlace, fearing

loose ankles, adjust and fling yourself farther

as solicitrix:

from Sappho to mescaline cacti

diagnosis policy problem


But with every glide you lose your grip

on your shape a little more,

bits of ice flake away to reveal

strata of white dust and sand,

a sardonyx:

breakthroughs have been distorted

because no one writes

we were a person once a problem

to ourself

isn’t that the point?

Until you want to moss

with the pink flowers pine-barrens might blush

on sandy evergreens far away,

hold onto the last ice-dust traces

below your skin, let yourself be

a shadow of the names that polished the way,


dramatic evidence that

magic under-skin unrest even

musical revolutions

pantomime downplay the riot

we need.

Emerging from the lake you grub for alternate

meanings of “witch,”

skate past a mountain ash and

see how long it’s been ash—just you:

we draw on botany,

what else

its disreputable roots,

newly transplanted.

You are not alone on the canal but

it’s too late to be out alone.

There is pain here,

recognizable as a box.

About Julia


Julia DaSilva completed her undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Literature & Critical Theory at the University of Toronto. Her poetry has appeared in Eclectica, Rat’s Ass Review, Lychee Rind zine, Cathexis, Sapphic Writers Collective, Half A Grapefruit, High Shelf Press, Wingless Dreamer, and Reckoning, the University of Toronto journals The Spectatorial, The Strand, Hardwire, and The Voice, as well as upcoming issues of Storm of Blue Press

Magazine, White Wall Review, and Ariel’s Dream.

She is a guest in Tkaronto/Toronto on

Dish With One Spoon territory, and writes fantasy as well as poetry, with a novel and a

collection of short stories in progress and a particular interest in the politics of magic systems.

Her writing is informed by her work in climate justice organizing, and explores questions of

political responsibility, love at the end of the world, and re-enchantment directed towards

transformative action.