where we are going is from Piquant Press (2009). 

The voices of the strong women Kate celebrates in these poems speak as true as morning bells. The echoes of family reverberate like chimes suspended from a tree in a homestead yard. Each poem in her journey is a courageous jumping off, a skilled diving in and a determined wading ashore, and at last, a resting place in bright light and clear air. It is refreshing to know that “where we are going” is a place Kate Marshall Flaherty knows well and is generous in sharing. — James Dewar, editor


I am pleased that my poem, “Sisters” is included in the League of Canadian Poet’s tree poem anthology, Heartwood, for the Love of Trees. 




by Kate Marshall Flaherty | where we are going

Ms Tynan

       is my frost-tipped

Grade five teacher with her tra-la singsong voice,

 dress-shields, Cleopatra sandals,

and no-nonsense

talk of menstruation

to a class of squeamish giggles.


She lets me present my queen Nefertiti project

 with her gold cone hat!


She posts my vita-vita vitamin ad right

 out in the hall–


She asks me do I want to be Queen in the play?

and says not to worry, girls can be mean sometimes

especially when it comes to birthdays,

boys and breasts.


But oh,

the day she beckons me to her desk,

asks would I like

to have her Lucy Maud Montgomery writing journal?

Tells me she believes I will fill it.


And I do.





shush like nurses


Leaf-breeze shimmering

undersides silver-green.


I feel your gnarled roots

fingering deep into the earth,

as grounded as I wish to be.


Sisters, you who tickle

heaven with slender tips,

who stand dirt-sure,

may I bask in the cool

shade of your wisdom?


You speak to me whispering

tree-secrets in the language

of lush and leafy greens,

exhaling inspiration—


Gifts of breath we give each other.







To me, home

has always been a point ON the Earth,

my childhood house

with its urban backyard,

yet more the body of flesh

than brick and mortar—

This temple of spirit I know

like the whorl of a fingertip scar

or a crescent moon-map in my iris.


I might have made a Mecca

of the Earth, the body, even the mind,

if not for Bev–


It was her face awakening

 from a deathbed dream:


I saw what it is like–

to be a cup of water poured into the sea,

to be a slip on a line in the wind,

to be unaware that I am dreaming …


I want to go back there!


I see now.


Home is not here at all—

it is where we are going.