Conyer Clayton Literature Poetry

Low Maintenance

I don’t really have a preference. Which name you use. The coffee beans. Fonts or flowers or flavors. Except when it comes to bubbles. Keep my water flat, I don’t need it to be interesting. I’d prefer not to say—that’s a preference. I’d prefer to stay—that’s a preference. I’d prefer if you didn’t ring your bell in tunnels or greet me at the door or kiss me when I’m writing—that’s a preference to let my head stay within my head—that’s a preference to not be brought outside myself. If it’s pillows, I prefer firm and thick. If it’s partners, I prefer you. You leave me alone in the morning like I prefer to be. You let me come to you once I’ve absorbed enough sun from my preferred corner of the porch. I guess I have some preferences. I tried to be low maintenance all my life because I thought it made me likable. But, I’d prefer not to explain myself, just be, just low, otherwise I’ll explain myself until I question if I like anything at all, or if I’ll just say anything to please anyone; that I’ll sleep on thin pillows on a double bed with the TV on for years, and never say I prefer space, prefer darkness, prefer quiet, thick support, never say my arms go numb and my head goes numb and my whole life numb from my silence, which he preferred.


Photo credit: Curtis Perry

Conyer Clayton is an Ottawa-based writer and editor. They are the Nonfiction Editor for untethered and a Poetry Editor for Augur. Their most recent book is But the sun, and the ships, and the fish, and the waves. (Winner of the Archibald Lampman Award, Anvil Press, 2022).