Aris Keshav Literature Poetry

Leave of Absence

I almost got the certificate
before the paperwork passed away.

You used to wear confidence
in every button of your shirt

before the suitcase rolled away
with your buttons and the students

filed into other rooms. We’ve fallen
between the desk and the wall.

They listened to you, I know that.
And you wore red lipstick, careful socks—

I’ve worn it too. I remember.
Both are as true as trembling on television

and under the layers of badges, skin.


Aris Keshav is a t-boy socialite and cégep teacher in Tio’tia:ke (Montréal). His writing appears in The Malahat Review, The New Quarterly, CV2, Canadian Notes & Queries, etc. and a poetry chapbook, Taunting August (Ethel Zine, 2022).