What Your Hands Have Done


What Your Hands Have Done

By Chris Bailey

Nightwood Editions
5.5 x 8 - 96 pages
Paperback - $18.95
September 2018

What Your Hands Have Done looks at how life spent in a close-knit fishing family in rural Prince Edward Island marks a person. The book is rooted in PEI but moves from there to Toronto where the malaise of life proves to be unbound to the sameness of small-town days spent hauling gear on the Atlantic or toiling in rust-red potato fields.

Bailey examines the world around him from the inside, observing the minute to account for the vast. These poems are laid bare and free of ornament, revealing the hard-won wisdom just below the surface:

She was there, cooked for you. Helped clean

the mess you’d become from decades

spent on your father’s ocean hauling lobsters

from its depths, gulping down the sea air.

Even when the booze was too much,

she knew you were more than the vomit

caked to your shirt. Less than confessions

made beneath the red summer moon.